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What is Italian Neorealism? (Definition and Examples)

Legendary film director Martin Scorsese has stated many times that one of the biggest influences in his work was the Italian Neorealism period in Italy. His personal documentary My Voyage to Italy (also check out: A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies) is a journey through Italian Cinema history and marking influential films. But what is Italian Neorealism?

“I saw these movies. They had a powerful effect on me. You should see them.” – Martin Scorsese

Italian Neorealism

Mussolini’s government wasn’t the only thing that ceased to exist after the Second World War. The making of traditional Italian movies also stopped as all the film studios were destroyed during the war.

In the year 1943, when Mussolini lost control of the Kingdom of Italy, local cinema saw significant changes that led to the birth of a new genre in the entertainment industry. This new genre took the film world, not only in Italy but the neighboring countries as well, by a storm.

Filmmakers were facing an extremely hard time making films owing to limited resources and a lack of studios where they could shoot. One thing led to another, and soon top filmmakers of the country found a solution to cope with the issue. This was the start of Neorealist thought in the Italian film industry.

Protagonists of the Thought

Huge names like Luchino Visconti, Roberto Rossellini, and Vittorio de Sica are some of the many who emerged to the fore and laid the foundation of Italian Neorealism, also known as an Italian Spring. The ideas and the messages behind the films changed with changing social and political scenarios.

At this time producers and directors were ready to put their money and efforts, respectively, into the movies which focused on social shortcomings and the plight of people. Society, economy, and politics were the main niche of interest, under the influence of Italian Neorealism.

The directors dared to make these movies now, which the former fascist regime, led by Mussolini, would have never tolerated.

Ideological Impact on the Movies

Reviewing the films, which were produced in Italy during the era between 1943 and 1950s, we come to know that all of them opted a theme of post-war poverty, depression, injustice, unemployment, and other menaces which were plaguing whole of the Italian society.

Not only the topics of the films were primarily affected by the Italian Spring of 1943, but it molded the ways of making movies up to a greater extent as well. Unlike the movies of the past, these movies hired new – lesser-known – actors and revolved around the contemporary issues of the time.

Moreover, films weren’t directed in huge studios, but the directors took their work onto the roads, interceding into the social fabric of society.

A common consideration is that these films were based on the Marxist thoughts passed on by the pro-socialist writer Karl Marx, as these focused not only on injustice and chronic unemployment but also shed lots of light on the economic disparities between bourgeois and proletariat.

With the growing thought of economic disparities and rising, anxiety among the people, liberals and other parties found it hard to send their messages to the people of Italia.

The liberals condemned the thought of Italian Spring by suggesting that a nation which is already struggling to develop a balance and lacking stability will get further plunged into the social menaces, lest the expansion of Italian Neorealism is checked.

With the turn of the 1950s, Italian Spring started to see a gradual decline in its popularity as people started searching out for an optimistic approach towards life.

It wasn’t exactly after the defeat of Italian Empire that neorealist thoughts prevailed in the society. The first film of the sorts, Ossessione featuring Massimo Girotti and Clara Calamao, was prepared by Luchino Visconti in May of 1943 when Mussolini was still in office.

He left the office in July of the same year and Italy was invaded by Allied Powers in September, after which scores of such films came to the fore.

It wasn’t until Roberto Rossellini’s Rome, Open City (released in the year 1945) that the whole world came to know about Italian Neorealism. Once the idea and the thought spread, other countries also followed the lines of the Italian film industry and started making movies that were based on social anarchy, imbalance, and disparities.

Famous Movies of the Neorealist Era

Here, we have listed some films created during the era of ‘Italian Spring’ ranging between 1943 and early 1950s.

Obsession

The film revolves around Giovanna and Gino, with the former killing her husband with the help of the latter when they meet at a gas station for the first time. In the hope to get away with the crime, Giovanna seduces Gino and tempts him to kill her husband. But, this leads to a string of deaths and betrayal which is faced by both these characters.

Rome, Open City

Rome, Open City single-handedly set the dawn of Italian Spring and following thoughts in the nearing countries of Europe and Asia. The film features Giorgio, as the leader of a resistance force against the Nazis. Once tracked down by the Germans, Giorgio is on the run and comes to his friend, Francesco, for help. He asks Francesco’s wife, Pina, to warn the priest, Pellegrini, that Giorgio needs to leave the town at earliest.

The Bicycle Thief

It is another film that portrays the felonies which were happening in the Italian cities during the time of World War 2. Thanks to the war that Antonio is unemployed and his family is facing a hard time.

When he finally finds employment of hanging posters in Rome, his wife sells bed linens to help Antonio get his bicycle back from the pawnshop. But then, the disaster strikes and Antonio cycle is stolen. The only way he will get his job back is if he finds his bike. Antonio with his protagonist son, Bruno, comes to the city to find his lost bike and to seek justice.

Germany, Year Zero

This film masterpiece is one of the finest works of Roberto Rossellini. The story is about a 12-year-old, Edmund, who lives with his family in a devastated building, where five other families have also sought refuge. Edmund’s brother is a former Nazi and is on the run from the police. His father is too ill to help the family.

In such a situation, it comes down to the 12-year-old Edmund to earn for his family. The case pushes the innocent child into the black market, and this is where one of his former teachers comes to the rescue.

The Earth Trembles

On return to his fishing village in native Italia, the dreams of Antonio are shattered as all of his investments are gone when the boat, he has spent on, is severely destroyed by a sea storm. Antonio finds himself at the expense of his rivals.

He is forced to work for them. During all these proceedings, his family ties are destroying, and it is disintegrating rapidly. Seeing all this, Antonio’s dreams and his trust in social fabric fade away swiftly.

Bitter Rice

Francesca and Walter, a criminal couple, are on the run from the authorities. During a tough phase in their mutual life, they part ways for the time being and find refuge in far off places, to avoid the law.

Francesca finds work with a group of peasant women in the rice fields of Po Plain. Slowly she starts finding solace in her new life where she gets hard-earned, clean money.

When Walter returns to her, she finds it hard to get along with him and to get back into the criminal world which she has left far behind.

Miracle in Milan

This movie shows the horrific side of the capitalist world. Toto is an orphan, brought up by Lolotta who found him in her cabbage patch. When Lolo dies, Toto leaves the orphanage and lives with a group of homeless in their junkyard.

Everything is going well until oil is discovered underneath the yard where Toto and his lowly friends live. Capitalists come in, trying all they can do to drag Toto and his friends out of the place so they can benefit from the reserves.

Umberto D

When Umberto, an old pensioner, finds it hard to pay his long overdue monthly rents, he fakes illness to go to the hospital and spend some time there. His only companion, his dog, is also parted from him during these developments. Umberto gives it to Maria, who is a maid of his landlady, to take care of the dog until his return.

These are some of the many movies which showed Italian Neorealism. The idea remained active in the Italian film industry until the turn of the 1950s. Economic Miracle happened in Italy, as a result of which people saw an increase in their wages and an improvement in their lifestyles.

Neorealist films weren’t much relevant anymore. So, their demands decreased drastically.

Moreover, the American cinema was at its boom as well, during this phase of the previous century. As more films came to the fore, in the Hollywood, which showed a positive side of life, the demand of neorealist movies lowered among the Italian people. Italian people.

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Martin Scorsese’s iPhone Quarantine Short Film: Reflection on Isolation

In his NEW short film Reflection on Isolation, which was shot on his entirely on his iPhone, legendary director Martin Scorsese discusses how “anxiety” set in during lockdown, after an initial “relief” that his heavy 2020 workload had been temporarily lifted.

The director has shot a new home-made iPhone short film about his experiences of isolation during the Coronavirus pandemic. It premiered on Lockdown Culture on BBC Two.

Scorsese, who was nominated for an Oscar for The Irishman earlier this year, said he

“Didn’t realize that the lockdown was going to be so intense”.

The 77-year-old film-maker said about his new film with Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert DeNiro:

“We had been working so hard on so many different projects, and things were spinning and spinning and spinning, and suddenly it was a crash, and a stop. At first, it was a day or so of a kind of relief. I didn’t have to go anywhere or do anything. I mean, I had to do everything, but I didn’t have to do it then. It was a kind of relief. And then the anxiety set in.”

Scorsese added:

“Ultimately I found I was… you’re with yourself, and time takes on another aspect. Experiencing that time, meaning, whereas before I thought, you’re sitting there doing nothing. But, no, you’re existing – that’s one thing. I have been in this room, basically, with no end in sight – still in a sense with no end in sight, for me anyway, [and] a sense of relief settled in and a real sense of freedom, because you can’t do anything else.

It was great to see Scorses just make a film with his iPhone. Enjoy.

READ Martin Scorsese’s Film Screenplay Collection – Click Here

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Want to watch more short films by legendary filmmakers?

Our collection has short films by Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, the Coen Brothers, Chris Nolan, Tim Burton, Steven Spielberg & more.

Martin Scorsese’s Micro-Budget Short Film: The Big Shave

The Big Shave is a 1967 six-minute short film directed by Martin Scorsese. It is also known as Viet ’67. Peter Bernuth stars as the recipient of the title shave, repeatedly shaving away hair, then skin, in an increasingly bloody and graphic bathroom scene. – Wikipedia

Download Martin Scorsese’s Screenplay Collection in PDF

Martin Scorsese Masterclass: Learn Directing from the Master

Martin Scorsese Masterclass: Learn Directing from the Master

Martin Scorsese drew his first storyboard when he was eight. Today he’s a legendary director whose films—from Mean Streets to The Wolf of Wall Street—have shaped movie history. In his first-ever online class, the Oscar winner teaches his approach to filmmaking, from storytelling to editing to working with actors. He deconstructs films and breaks down his craft, changing how you make—and watch—movies.

Click below to watch the trailer and pre-enroll in his class:

You can ENROLL in the course now to this game-changing filmmaking course. Click here to gain access


Martin Scorsese Masterclass: Learn Directing from the Master

  • Martin Scorsese teaches you directing, filmmaking, and storytelling across 20+ video lessons.
  • Interactive exercises
  • A  downloadable workbook accompanies the class with lesson recaps and supplemental materials.
  • Lifetime access, with classes that never expires
  • Learning materials and workbooks
  • Accessible from any device
  • Watch, listen, and learn as Martin Scorsese Masterclass teaches his most comprehensive film directing class ever.
  • Office Hours: Upload work to get feedback from the class. Martin Scorsese will also critique select student work.

Click here to gain access

If this class is anything like past masterclass’ you are in for a treat.

Screenwriting/Filmmaking MasterClasses:

Acting MasterClasses:

Martin Scorsese Teaches Us All

Known for movies depicting the harsh realities of American life and careful filmmaking style, renowned director and producer Martin Charles Scorsese was born on the 1st of November 1942, in Flushing New York.

He was raised by his Italian-American parents in the Little Italy district of Manhattan which is fondly remembered by him as a village in Sicily. Both of his parents Charles and Catherine worked part-time as actors and had a hand in setting the stage for their son at an early age.

Scorsese’s childhood activities were quite limited due to his severe case of asthma, and rather than playing sports his older brother, would take him to a movie theater or he would spend most of his time in front of the television.

This was the age when his love for cinema developed and gradually turned into his passion. He loved stories about Italian experiences and was especially besotted with the work of Michael Powell. At the age of eight years, he was already drawing his own storyboards and got seriously interested in filmmaking.

Although he was raised in a catholic environment and for a while also weighed the idea of entering priesthood before he decided to pursue filmmaking.

Scorsese knew that he was headed down the right path when he earned $500 scholarship to New York University with his 10-min comedy short.

Martin Scorsese attended the Tisch School of the Arts of New York University doing his B.A in English 1964 and M.F.A films in 1966. He made short films like What’s a Nice Girl Like You Doing in a Place Like This? (1963) and It’s Not Just You, Murray! (1964). 

After completion of MFA, Scorsese worked as a film instructor briefly. In the year 1968, Scorsese made his first feature length film a black and white I Call First later retitled Who’s That Knocking at My Door? a close portrayal of life in the streets of Little Italy,with his fellow student actor Harvey Keitel and an editor Thelma Schoonmaker both of whom were to become part of his team for 40 years.

Another short film of note is The Big Shave. Watch below:

Mean Streets which was directed by Scorsese in 1973 was first of his films to be acknowledged and praised worldwide as a masterpiece.

Featuring the same characters from Who’s That Knocking at My Door?the film depicted the elements which had become the signature style of Scorsese’s films like unsympathetic lead characters, dark themes, the Mafia, religion and uncommon camera techniques combined with contemporary music.

Brian De Palma, who had introduced Scorsese to Robert De Niro, Mean Girls sparked the most dynamic filmmaking partnerships to have blossomed in Hollywood history.

Hard hitting films which aided in the redefinition of the generation of cinema were made by Scorsese in the 1970s and 1980s. Taxi Driver which is a realistic masterpiece of 1976 earned Scorsese the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival which fixed the status of De Niro as a living movie legend permanent.

Soon after Scorsese had made the documentary about this parents, Italianamerican (1974), he started on his first studio picture Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (1974).

An effective drama about a widow Alice (Ellen Burstyn) who sets off to California from Mexico, after the demise of her abusive husband and her teenaged son (Alfred Lutter). Ellen Burstyn won the Oscar for Best Actress which made a point about Scorsese disciplining his one of a kind talent.

After proving that a conventional film could come from him, Scorsese shocked the film viewers with Taxi Driver (1976) which was a cringing tour of a disturbed Vietnam veteran’s odd madness. Written by Paul Schrader and scored by Bernanrd Herrmann, it is a fascinating and horrifying watch.

De Niro gave a remarkable performance as Travis Bickle and Keitel did justice to his small but key role of the threatening and seductive pimp Sport, keeping the 12-year-old Iris (Jodie Foster) in slavery. Scorsese cast himself in a small cameo of a jealous husband.

It is known as the most disturbing and most controversial Oscar nominee for best picture till now. Taxi Driver won Oscar nominations for De Niro, Foster and Herrman. It was awarded the Palme d’Or at Cannes Film Festival and is considered to be the best work of Scorsese.

New York, New York (1977) was a rethought of the 1950s musical of Hollywood which was marked by its elaborate sets and unnatural lighting. It was made to look that way specially to arouse the triumphs of the past by George Cuker and Vincente Minnelli.


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Featuring De Niro as the cocky character of Jimmy Doyle who is a saxophone player working in a big band with lead singer is Francine Evans (Liza Minnelli).  Their love affair could not survive and this the self-destructive Jimmy drifts away from the domestic life and pregnant Francine.

De Niro performed very convincingly while Minelli was able to evoke her mother (Judy Garland) with staggering authority.  Though critical reviews were mixed, it was a commercial flop which later developed a cult following because of the obvious affection for Hollywood it depicted.

The 80s brought some really great films by Scorsese. In 1980, he made the brutal but brilliant Raging Bull which was a loose adaptation of Schrader and Mardik Martin about a former middleweight boxing champion Jake La Motta.

Scorsese made this violent biopic which he called a Kamikaze method filmmaking. It was voted the greatest movies of the 1980s receiving eight Oscar nominations which included Best Actor (for De Niro), Best Picture and Best Director.

De Niro won and Thelma Schoonmaker for editing. Raging Bull was filmed in high contrast black and white and this is where Scorsese’s style reached its peak.

Scorsese’s fifth collaboration with Robert De Niro was his next project, The King of Comedy (1983). Again De-Niro gave a very original performance as a stand-up comedian Rupert Pupkin.  It is a mockery of the media world and celebrities and how a loner character becomes famous through a criminal act.

Rupert practices a lot but has no talent that is why he fails and ends up kidnapping a late-night TV star Jerry Langford (Jerry Lewis) in exchange for a 10 minutes time on his show. Failing at the box office, it has become increasingly well acclaimed and regarded by the critics in the years since the release.

The German director Wim Wenders counts it amongst his 15 favorite films.

After Hours (1985) happened to be a small but an amusing diversion of its kind which was made by Scorsese in an underground filmmaking style. Featuring Griffin Dunne as a mild New York word processor who is in endangered because of some lunatics he comes across on a long strange night.

Michael Ballhaus was the cinematographer of this low budgeted film which was shot on location in SoHo neighborhood. It is a rather unusual depiction of what Scorsese could do if he only wanted his viewers to have fun.

Along with the music video for Michael Jackson’s Bad in 1986, Scorsese made The Color of Money which was a sequel to a much appreciated and loved The Hustler (1961) of Robert Rossen. The movie starred Paul Newman with Tom Cruise co-starring. It was Scorsese’s first official attempt in to mainstream filmmaking.

Fast Eddie (Newman) now retired, smells new talent in the pool shark Vincent Lauria (Cruise) and taking him under his wing, shares all of this knowledge. But they part ways and face each other at an Atlantic City tournament.

The Color of Money earned Paul Newman his Oscar and also offered Scorsese the power to finally secure his backing for a project which had been a goal for him for a long time: The Last Temptation of Christ (1988). 

The Last Temptation of Christ was based on Schrader’s adaptation of an epic 1960 novel by Nikos Kazantzakis. The novel narrated the self-doubts of Jesus as he carried out his mission and told about Christ more in human terms rather than divine.

Willem Dafoe was well-casted in the role of Jesus but few critics were not too thrilled with the rest of the unusual cast of Hershey as Mary, Harry Stanton as Paul and Keitel as Judas. Scorsese made a major comeback to personal filmmaking with this movie.

Prior to its release, it was a low budget independent movie but the uproar it caused with worldwide protests, it became a media sensation. The variation on the Gospels in the form of this movie earned Scorsese his second Oscar nomination.

New York story which had fashioned Scorsese’s reputation, was the basis of the fame of GoodFellas (1990). Adapted from non-fiction Wiseguy of Nicholas Pileggi, the story is about a small-time Brooklyn mobster Henry Hill. Scorsese displayed his incredible mastery of the medium in unexpected ways innovatively.



Roger Ebert named it the best mob movie ever. It is considered as Scorsese’s best achievement and was nominated for six Academy Awards. Joe Pesci won an Academy for Best Supporting Actor. Scorsese was nominated for Best Director.

Film won many awards which included a Silver Lion, five BAFTA Awards and more. GoodFellas was put on No.2 on American Film Institute’s list of top 10 gangster films after The Godfather.

Cape Fear (1991) the remake of a cult 1962 film of the same name, was a commercial success. It was Scorsese’s 7th collaboration with De Niro.

A stylized thriller, Nolte starred as a southern lawyer Sam Bowden whose family is being terrorized by ex-con Max Cady (De Niro) whom Sam had gotten jailed and now he was seeking revenge.

It received mixed reviews but grossed $80 million domestically and as Scorcese’s most commercially successful film until The Aviator (2004) and The Departed (2006).

The success of Cape Fear enabled Scorsese to get the big budget he desired for his version of Edith Wharton’s novel The Age of Innocence (1993). It was lovingly completed and subtly portrayed the upper crust of New York City in the late 19th century.

The plot is about an unconsummated love affair between a sensitive lawyer Newland Archer (Daniel Day-Lewis) and Countess Ellen (Michelle Pfeiffer). Highly applauded by critics upon the original release it did not do well on box office.

Casino (1995) was set in a 1970s tale of Las Vegas that marked the comeback of the GoodFellas talent team. It centered on a male whose peaceful and well-ordered life was upset by the arrival of unpredictable forces. De Niro and Pesci pairing had great chemistry, as seen in GoodFellas.

Having received mixed views from critics, Casino was quite a box office success. It’s excessive violence bought it the reputation of the most violent American gangster film to date. Film had incredible supporting performances. Best Actress Academy Award nomination was earned by Sharon Stone for her work in this film.

Return to a familiar territory, the director Scorsese and writer Paul Schrader manifested a pitch-black comic intake quite similar to Tax Driver in Bringing Out the Dead (1999). 

Starring Nicholas Cage as a New York paramedic who is about to crack under his stressful job, similar to earlier Scorsese-Schrader teamwork, the final scenes of spiritual restoration clearly were reminiscent of Robert Bresson films.

Among other cast were Ving Rhames, Tom Sizemore, John Goodman and Patricia Arquette. Receiving positive reviews generally, it did not gain much critical acclaim like former Scorsese films.

Gangs of New York was a project which Scorsese had been meaning to do since the late 1970s. With a production budget in excess of $100 million, it was the biggest and most conventional film to date.

It was set in the 19th century New York like The Age of Innocence but it centered on the other end of the social scale. Marking the first collaboration between Leonardo DiCaprio and Scorsese who later on became a must in Scorsese films. Starring as an Amsterdam Vallon he was seeking revenge for the murder of his father by Bill the Butcher (Day-Lewis who was like a godfather figure to the rowdy Five Points mob.

Gangs of New York got nominations for 10 Oscar awards which included nominations for Best Actor, Best Picture, and Best Director it also earned Scorsese his first Golden Globe for Best Director.

The Aviator (2004) was a lavish and large-scale biopic of a film mogul and eccentric aviation pioneer, Howard Hughes which again reunited DiCaprio and Scorsese. It was a lavish re-creation of the Hollywood of 1930s and 1940s.

DiCaprio gave the appropriately intense explanation of a man who was driven by his own passion, intellect as well as acute case of his obsessive-compulsive disorder. Receiving high appraise, The Aviator garnered 11 Oscar nominations as well as massive success at the box office with Academy Award recognition.

It was also nominated for six Golden Globe Awards which included Best Motion Picture, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Screenplay. It won Best Motion Picture-Drama, Best Actor. The film ended with five Oscars for Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing and Best Cinematography.

The Departed (2006) was Scorsese’s return to the crime genre which was a Boston-set thriller and based on a Hong Kong police drama Infernal Affairs, 2002.

This film earned Scorsese his second Golden Globe for Critic’s Choice Award and for Best Director, first DGA Award and Academy Awards both for Best Motion Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing and Best Director.

It again starred DiCaprio along with Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Martin Sheen and Mark Wahlberg.  Matt Damon and DiCaprio starred as doubles living on opposite ends of the law. Colin (Damon) played the role of a Boson detective who was raised by Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson), a crime lord since childhood so he could become his mole.

And Billy (DiCaprio) was an undercover cop who was assigned with the dangerous task of getting into the organization of Frank Costello whose character was found on the psychopathic mastermind Boston mobster, Whitey Bulger. Being Scorsese’s biggest box-office hit after Shutter Island, Scorsese finally earned his Best Director Oscar for this.

Scorsese also directed a couple of musical documentaries. The concert film Shine a Light (2008) starring The Rolling Stones and No Direction Home: Bob Dylan (2005) was a wide survey of the iconic singer/songwriter.

It does not cover his entire career but focuses more of his impact on American pop industry, his beginnings, and his transformations. Scorsese earned an Emmy nomination and won a Peabody Award as well as a Grammy Award for Best Long Form Music Video.

2010 brought Shutter Island starring Leonardo DiCaprio the fourth time in a Scorsese film. The cast included Michelle Williams, Mark Ruffalo, Max von Sydow and Ben Kingsley which were first-timers with Scorsese.

Based on a novel of the same name by Dennis Lehane it starred DiCaprio as a U.S marshal who travels to search for a missing patient in a psychiatric facility deserted in the Boston Harbor. And soon the detective story becomes closer to a horror film. Film was a box office smash and became Scorsese’s highest grossing film.

The year 2011 brought Hugo which was based a novel The Invention of Hugo Carbet by Brian Selznick. Hugo was a 3D adventure drama film and the most expensive production of Scorsese. It started Chloe Grace Moretz, Sacha Baron Cohen, Ben Kingsley, Asa Butterfied, Emily Mortimer, Jude Law, Ray Winstone and Christopher Lee.

The story is about a once celebrated filmmaker who runs a toy store Georges Melies (Kingsley) who has become bitter about the destruction of so much of his world and his niece and 12-year old orphan Hugo (Asa Butterfield) manages to bring him back to the world.

Meeting critical acclaim, Hugo was nominated for 11 Oscars and Scorsese won his third Golden Globe Award for Best Director. Nominated for 11 and winning five Academy Awards, Hugo also won two BAFTA awards.

Another of his musical documentaries, George Harrison: Living in the Material World (2011) won Scorsese an Emmy Award. The three and half hour documentary explored the life of former Beatle.

Branching out further into television, Scorsese executively produced the Boardwalk Empire (2010-14) which was an HBO drama series about gangsters in Atlantic City at Prohibition period. He also received an Emmy Award (2011) for directing the show’s first episode.

The too-real and somewhat harsh portrayal of New York City was Scorsese’s claim to fame initially. Returning to his familiar haunts of the Big Apple, Scorsese brought The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) which was a deterrent tale based on Jordan Belfort’s memoir making it into a biographic black comedy.

Marking the fifth collaboration with DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street starred DiCaprio as the stock trader Belfort who engages himself in a huge securities fraud case which involved corruption on Wall Street, manipulation of stock and the practice commonly called as “pump and dump” and the corporate banking world.

The screenplay was written by Terence Winter. Among the other cast included Jonah Hill and Mathew McConaughey. Belfort fell afoul of the rules and of course the law but not before training himself and his associates in immense wealth.

Leonardo DiCaprio won an award at the 2014 Golden Globe Awards for Best Actor- Motion Picture Musical or Comedy. The film also earned a nomination for the Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy.

The Wolf of Wall Street was nominated for five Academy Awards which included Best Picture, Best Actor (Leonardo DiCaprio), Best Director (Martin Scorsese), Best Supporting Actor (Jonah Hill) and Best Adapted Screenplay for the work of Terence Winter.

Martin Scorsese received his 8th Oscar nomination for Best Director and the film also was nominated for Best Picture. Scorsese is to direct The Irishman which shall star Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci. He has also informed that his long-planned biopic about Frank Sinatra shall be coming soon.

Scorsese’s next documentary will be about former president Bill Clinton for HBO. According to an announcement Scorsese will be directing a biopic on Mike Tyson which shall star Oscar-winning Jamie Foxx as Tyson.

The Scorsese List

The story I’m about to tell is any film students dream. Back in 2006, a young film student by the name of  Colin Levy met with Martin Scorsese after winning an NYC-based short film festival.

When Levy met with Scorsese the young film student had not yet had the privilege of watching some of Scorsese’s most celebrated masterpieces (including Taxi Driver and Goodfellas). Ever the film teacher Martin Scorsese gifted the young Levy with a magical list of foreign films he should watch. The list in itself is a film school.

Levy said,

“I labored over a thank-you card, in which I expressed the overwhelming impression I had gotten that I don’t know enough about anything. I especially don’t know enough about film history and foreign cinema. I asked if he had any suggestions for where to start.”

He received the following note from Martin Scorsese in response:

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Courtesy of www.colinlevy.com

If you are a film student or cinema buff this is a remarkable list of films to watch. So what are you waiting for…get to watching. Professor Scorsese’s orders!

Filmography:

 2016 Vinyl (TV Series)
 2014 The 50 Year Argument (Documentary)
 2011 Hugo
 2010 Public Speaking (Documentary)
 2010 Boardwalk Empire (TV Series)
 2010 A Letter to Elia (Documentary)
 2008 Shine a Light (Documentary)
 2007 The Key to Reserva (Short)
 2006 The Departed
 2005 No Direction Home: Bob Dylan (TV Series documentary)
 2004 The Aviator
 2004 Lady by the Sea: The Statue of Liberty (TV Movie documentary)
 2003 The Blues (TV Series documentary)
 2001 The Neighborhood (Short)
 2001 The Concert for New York City (TV Special documentary) (segment “The Neighborhood”)
 2001 My Voyage to Italy (Documentary)
 1997 Kundun
 1995 Casino
 1991 Cape Fear
 1991 The King of Ads (Documentary)
 1990 Made in Milan (Short documentary)
 1990 Goodfellas
 1989 New York Stories (segment “Life Lessons”)
 1987 Michael Jackson: Bad (Video short)
 1986 Amazing Stories (TV Series)
 1985 After Hours
 1980 Raging Bull
 1978 The Last Waltz (Documentary)
 1976 Taxi Driver
 1974 Italianamerican (Documentary)
 1973 Mean Streets
 1970 Street Scenes (Documentary)
 1968 The Big Shave (Short)
 1966 New York City… Melting Point (Documentary)
 1959 Vesuvius VI (Short)

Martin Scorsese’s Favorite Films

Here is Martin Scorsese’s Top Ten list of greatest films of all time:

Martin Scorsese Film School – A Personal Journey Through American Movies Pt1

Martin Scorsese is a master craftsman in the art of cinema with an encyclopedic knowledge of Movies. It is a pleasure to hear his views on early American cinema where his love of the silver screen was awakened and “colored his dreams”. I am sure he could talk about cinema from any country in the world just as intelligently and passionately.


Martin Scorsese Film School – Director’s Dilemma – A Personal Journey Through American Movies Pt2


Martin Scorsese Film School – Storyteller – A Personal Journey Through American Movies Pt3

“The American film maker has always been more interested in making fiction than revealing reality.” Martin Scorsese


Martin Scorsese Film School – The Western – A Personal Journey Through American Movies Pt4

For the rest of videos in A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies click here.


 


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If you liked Martin Scorsese MasterClass: His Secrets & Directing Techniques take a listen to:
Stanley Kubrick – Breaking Down the Master’s Directing Style

STANLEY KUBRICK, indie film, filmmaking, indie film hustle, Clockwork Orange, Full Metal Jacket, Eyes Wide Shut, Lolita, The Killing, The Shinning


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IFH 028: How Quentin Tarantino is Keeping Film Alive with The Hateful Eight

Ah, the good ol’ digital vs film debate. Well, you won’t get any of that in the article or podcast. With Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight coming out Dec 25, 2015, and it is shot on “Glorious 70mm,” there has been a lot of chatter about film again.

With filmmakers like Christopher Nolan shooting 35mm and IMAX on his latest film and JJ Abrams shooting Star Wars: The Force Awakens in 35 mm, film seems to still be an art form that many filmmakers are not ready to let go of just yet.

What Quentin Tarantino has done with The Hateful Eight is unique. He has brought back to life the Ultra Panavision 70 technique along with anamorphic 65mm lenses that haven’t been seen since the ’60s.

Here are some specs:

  • Camera: Panavision 65 HR Camera and Panavision Panaflex System 65 Studio
  • Lenses: Panavision APO Panatar
  • Film Stock 65mm: Kodak Vision3 200T 5213, Vision3 500T 5219
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.75:1

Quentin Tarantino has some very strong opinions about shooting digital.

“Part of the reason I’m feeling [like retiring] is, I can’t stand all this digital stuff. This is not what I signed up for,” he said.

“Even the fact that digital presentation is the way it is right now – I mean, it’s television in public, it’s just television in public. That’s how I feel about it. I came into this for film.”

He continued:

“I hate that stuff. I shoot film. But to me, even digital projection is – it’s over, as far as I’m concerned. It’s over.”

“If I’m gonna do TV in public, I’d rather just write one of my big scripts and do it as a miniseries for HBO, and then I don’t have the time pressure that I’m always under, and I get to actually use all the script,” he explained.

“I always write these huge scripts that I have to kind of – my scripts aren’t like blueprints. They’re not novels, but they’re novels written with script format. And so I’m adapting the script into a movie every day.”

This is what he said he’d do if he would write another huge epic.

“The one movie that I was actually able to use everything – where you actually have the entire breadth of what I spent a year writing – was the two Kill Bill movies because it’s two movies. So if I’m gonna do another big epic thing again, it’ll probably be like a 6-hour miniseries or something.”

The Hateful Eight will be getting a nation-wide release in Ultra Panavision 70, which means it’ll be the first fiction feature film screened in anamorphic 70mm with a single-projector Cinerama system since Khartoum in 1966.

Watch Quentin Tarantino, director of photography Bob Richardson and Panavision explain how they brought Ultra Panavision 70, back to life in The Hateful Eight.

A Christmas Eve Conversation With Quentin Tarantino & Paul Thomas Anderson on 70mm Film

Quentin: I didn’t realize how much of a lost cause [35mm] was. At the same time I didn’t realize to the same extent 70mm would be a drawing point. Not just to me and other film geeks. There is no intelligent argument to be had that puts digital in front of [70mm]. It actually might be film’s saving grace. Film’s last stand. Film’s last night in the arena — and actually conquer.

Check out this amazing documentary SIDE BY SIDE, produced by Keanu Reeves, takes an in-depth look at this revolution.

Through interviews with directors, cinematographers, film students, producers, technologists, editors, and exhibitors, SIDE BY SIDE examines all aspects of filmmaking — from capture to edit, visual effects to color correction, distribution to archive.

At this moment when digital and photochemical filmmaking coexist, SIDE BY SIDE explores what has been gained, what is lost, and what the future might bring.

Right-click here to download the MP3

Alex Ferrari 0:52
So today, guys, with The Hateful Eight coming out in a few weeks. And all in quitting, like being quitting Tarantino being so adamant about shooting film and shooting film shooting film, and he actually is brought back an amazing format, basically 70 millimeter, ultra panavision hasn't been used since the 60s. And he's been able to bring back this, this beautiful format for Hateful Eight. And he's doing a roadshow around the country. So for people who want to see it in film in this massive format, they can see it in that format. So I wanted to talk a little bit about the differences between film and digital. And this has been debated to death. So I'm not going to do that. But for a lot of people who are not familiar with actually shooting film and the differences. I just wanted to kind of to kind of shed a little light on this. But before we do, I want you to hear what Quentin Tarantino himself has to say about the process.

Interviewer 1:53
And you're you're not too sure about the digital era Are you in terms of as opposed to the old day of going to the cinema? And yet no, I'm widescreen as on the digital era.

Quentin Tarantino 2:05
At least it does nothing for me. It does nothing for me. I mean, I actually think I'm getting gypped when I go to a movie and I realize it's either been shot on digital or being projected in digital. Um, I mean some people feel differently about this but I think it's the death kill I think it's the death rattle and you know, it's Yeah, I do. And I also have even another whole aspect about it, you know, I've always believed in the magic of movies. Yeah, and to me, the magic movies is connected to 35 millimeter because everyone thinks you can't help but think that when you're filming something on film, that you're recording movement, you're not recording movement, you're just taking a series of still pictures, there's no movement in movies at all they are still pictures but when shown at 24 frames a second through a light bulb it creates the illusion of movement so thus as opposed to recording device when you're watching a movie or film print you are watching an illusion and to me that illusion is connected to the magic of movies.

Alex Ferrari 3:09
Now that was a that was quitting from a press conference he did a few years back when he was asked about that about digital versus film now I'm a guy who shot a lot of film in my day my demo reel was shot on 35 millimeter I've shot eight millimeter 16 millimeter in film school I've learned 16 millimeter and N 35 millimeter so you know I I changed the bag change the film in the bag I you know did I did the whole the whole gambit on film. And I you know I love film I think film is a wonderful medium and I don't think film should die I think film should always be an option for filmmakers because it does have something very unique something very specific about it. Now with that said though when you're shooting I've done I've now come over to the other side and I've now shot a ton more digital than I've ever shot film and it has opened up my ability to tell stories and be able to shoot more and be able to do more post production because of the new digital technology you know when shooting film it's it's you know you've got that whole mystery of like oh maybe I'll maybe I'll maybe I got it in the shot or not. I don't know maybe we'll see when we get back from dailies and all this kind of stuff. That's great and I but I was used to frustrate me videos. This was the only thing I had at the time and even then you really don't know what did the film actually actually look like until you get into the into the into the lab. And just so you know when I shot my my demo reel, I actually sent up all my footage to a lab up in New York. I'll do art and do art, their machine broke while I was developing my film, and I lost my entire production. I lost all of it. That was 1000s of dollars that I lost and they were very nice. They gave me free development and free film and but I didn't really pay for the production. But I did what you know, it was all it is but those are things that happen just like you would you know lose a hard drive nowadays, but to get back to what Quentin Tarantino was doing now with The Hateful Eight, the video that's attached to the show notes of this of this episode, he does this entire like they will basically a 10 minute explanation of what they're doing with how they went back to find the camera and the lenses that were sitting in a corner somewhere and they had to go do tests and stuff but the magic that he's going to be able to capture with that and we'll all see on Christmas day when it comes out how it's going to look and what it's going to be like but you know, I think there needs to be champions like guarantee No, and by the way, Tarantino is not the only director doing this. Christopher Nolan JJ Abrams shot the new Star Wars all on 35 millimeter. Wes Anderson, Paul Thomas Anderson, Darren Aronofsky shot the wrestler on 16 millimeter. There's a lot of directors holding on to film because it is a viable it's a viable shooting format, especially at the at the studio level where they can afford the costs to create, you know, the workflow for that maybe at the independent level is much more difficult. But with that said in a few weeks, I'm going to have probably in a month or two, I'm going to have a guest on I just did the pot I just did the interview last week with her name is Kansas bowling. She's 19 now but she was 17 when she made her first feature film and she shot a completely on 16 millimeter. And all she does is shoot film she won't shoot digitally. She doesn't like the way it looks. She wants to shoot film and wants to keep that format alive because she's a when you hear her she's kind of like a female mini Quentin Tarantino she knows so much about this her genre film from the olden days that it's she could just tell that she has a love for film just like Tarantino does. It's something that I hope stays around for a long time I think we're losing more and more of the artists and the technicians who understand film who know film because they're not teaching in schools anymore it's becoming kind of like a lost art in a lot of ways is you know old all the older dogs like myself and guys a head of me who've been working with film all there's light like my my friend Suki who was on episode nine, we were talking that he The reason one of the reasons he got on to American Horror Story was because he shoots film, he knows how to shoot film, he shot a lots of film, and he is actually you know, that film, the whole show is shot on film. And the things that they're able to do with that because they shoot film and to be able to do in camera tricks and things in development, things that you can't do digitally and not able to do digitally. Now a lot of people say the warmth and the different vibe and the just the psychological they all this is great. You know it's the same conversation I was in school this digital analog debate was going on for music, like oh, vinyl or digital. But now everything you know now, vinyls coming back up, because everyone's like, Wow, it sounds so much better. I'm not sure if that's going to be the way it is with digital in the future. I really don't i don't see that happening anytime. I think like just like vinyl and and mp3 they live together. The digital world is much larger than the vinyl world but the vinyl world starting to come up and there are people who are interested in seeing that and watching that. So I think film is going to become that kind of niche within the film industry. So for those of you who have never shot film, I wanted to kind of take you through the process really quickly. So you shoot 35 millimeter you go out and get your stock of film, that stock of film will be dependent on the amount of light you want to expose in the film. So a lower aasa like a 50 or 100 would be for outside stuff that there's a lot of light so it's you can it absorbs it absorb it needs a lot of light to be able to get a good exposure, but it's very fine. So if you have a lot of light outside and you shoot with that kind of format, you're going to be a nice clean grainless image kind of you know getting closer to the digital side of it. Now, if you go higher like to the eight hundreds or I think even to 1000 I forgot where they actually ended up stopping doing that, then you could shoot in low light. Now the legendary Stanley Kubrick shot Barry Lyndon some scenes in Barry Lyndon with a some lenses that he got from NASA on a very as advanced of a film stock as they had at the time nowadays. Or nowadays they have film stock that was very, very fast and can absorb a lot of light, but back then they didn't. So that's kind of what you're dealing with with film stock is because there's so now you get the film, you get a camera let's say you're going to shoot it on air, your pan of vision, you load the camera up huge and you only have 10 minute rolls. That's it. You only got 10 minutes per roll to shoot what you got to do. That's why the long takes of yesteryear only lasted around 10 minutes. That's why Alfred Hitchcock's rope was basically nine long takes edited together very Very interestingly and very cleverly, to hide the edits. But there until digital came along, there was no ability to make long take film, or long take shots past 10 minutes. So once you shoot at 10 minutes, you sync it up with audio later on, because you can record audio directly into the camera, but you can sync it up. So once you have it, and by the way, when you're on set, you have to have a guy on set with a bag to be able to change the mag, the mag can't see any light film can't see any light because if it sees light, it ruins it. So you have to put it in a black bag or into a tent, go in there, change the film out blind, because you can't do it unless you're in a dark room which onset you generally aren't. You've got to do it blindly. So you have to learn how to do this blindly. As I'm telling you this, it sounds crazy. But I remember doing this in school. So you go in there you have to feel things around, you got to change the mag, make sure it's all tight, get it out, tape it up. All this stuff has to be done just to be able to get the image. So let's say we've shot the whole film now we've done everything perfectly. Now you send it off to the lab, the lab will develop it then after the lab develops it you would take it over to a telephony suite now the olden days you would be able to edit on film, take take the negative and edit it and make a print of it and then edit it and then someone will go back and edit off of edge codes. Each film. All the film stocks have different edge codes inside of it. So they literally would go by I edge it out. Funny is when I went to film school, they actually taught us backwards they taught us nonlinear editing, than online editing, then Film Editing and when I literally went to film and I was cutting I'm like I looked at the teacher. I'm like you want me to cut this with a razor blade? And then tape it together with with tape. What are we the Flintstones this is this is crazy. This is barbaric? Because I didn't understand and it is even for someone who's never understood never seen anything like that it does it did look barbaric, even for me back then. So can you imagine what you know someone who's never even seen a film camera or shot film or edited film would look at it going You got to be kidding me. So it was a very slow process doing that. And by the way, the reason why in all your editing systems, it's called the bin is because they actually hung films in film takes in bins, like literally hang them physically. And they would be called film bin. So that's when avid and everybody else came out. They all call it bins because they're all still trying to go back to that use that old terminology. So let's say we're not going to edit and film. Let's say we're going to do it a digital a digital way that the current way. So you would shoot it, you would bring it back to a telephony, they would scan it all in digitally. At that point, you have it all digital and it's going to stay digital and then now you can do all your working workflow visual effects, everything you want to do all digitally no problem at all. When you're all done, you've color graded digitally. You get it all done, you're out the door, bam, bam, boom, you're good. When I did my demo reel, I actually took the negative I had to actually color grade all the raw footage, then transfer all that raw footage, color graded onto a tape beta SP or Digi beta tape and then go off and digitize that into an avid and then edit it together to get my final piece. So there's a few different workflows but as you can see, film is much more convoluted and currently much more expensive because a lot of the infrastructure that was in place is now no longer there. So when there was 1015 Labs in LA, I think there's one or two now in LA that can do this this kind of work anymore so I hope this kind of gives you a little bit of an understanding of what the workflow is I'm no expert by any stretch I'm definitely not you know the old pro that's been shooting film for years and decades or anything like that this is my experience with it. And I kind of glossed over it there's a lot more detail involved with it, but it is a lot more convoluted and it is a lot more time consuming to do to do this once you by the way once you shoot the film, you won't know what to do you would send the dailies out to the lab the lab would develop it and then send it back to you and then you would at lunch on the film set at lunch go and watch your dailies with the producer and see what you had for the day before so now you have an instantly now you can literally just watch it on the monitor rewind it right then and there and you'll know what you've got or you didn't get instantly so with that digital is obviously one of the many things is wonderful about digital filmmaking. But that gives you kind of a quick overview of what it was like shooting film I know for the for the younger guys in the audience. It sounds like we were crazy. But you know what? They've been doing films like that for over 100 years doing it like that. So it's only within the last two I mean, honestly it's basically Episode Two of Star Wars Episode of Star Wars Episode Two was I think one of the first films shot completely digitally. So you know it's it hasn't been that long that we've been doing digital but it's been growing so fast, and now it's completely dominates the market. So just wanted to guys give you a little bit of an idea for anybody in the audience who doesn't had never experienced shooting film before. What Quinn's doing is remarkable, I'm very I applaud him for fighting so hard to get the to get film in the spotlight again, I think because he's doing this with, with The Hateful Eight that it started the conversation over again, if you guys get a chance, you have to watch a documentary called side by side, who was directed by Keanu Reeves. And he goes around and interviews the top directors in the world talking about this specific reason like film or digital film, or digital film or digital and he it's a fantastic documentary, I'll leave, I'll leave a link for it in the show notes. It really, really is worth your time to watch it. If you are interested in this. If you guys ever do get a chance to shoot film, and you have that opportunity, whether it's like shooting eight millimeter, super eight millimeter, just to have that experience is so much fun. And it's so enlightening as a filmmaker to be able to shoot on film, because you guys call yourself filmmakers, you should actually one day shoot film, it's it's always a wonderful thing. And if you want to shoot super eight separate, if you go to Super eight sound, I think it's super eight sound calm, I'll live I'll put it in the show notes. They have an entire ecosystem of cameras, you can rent or buy the film packages already done. And they'll actually you can also do post production with them as far as transferring it through telephony. Now in my day, I've been in a lot of telephony sessions where you actually sit down you put the put the roll of film up and you run it in you put it in digitally and scan it in and that the times I did a day, we didn't even scan it in there was no scanning in at the time, it was more just transferring it to a beta SP or Digi beta. And now they would transfer it to an hdslr or something like that. But now they would actually scan it in digitally. You don't even have to go to tape, of course. So bottom line is guys, I think film. If you haven't had a chance to experience film experience it it is a magical thing. If I had a chance to shoot film again, I probably would. But it really would depend on the film and the project, I really have gotten used to the digital workflow. I love the images that come out of digital cameras, the red, the airy, the black magic, they're just absolutely stunning images and the freedom that you get to do with playing with it. That's why, you know, amazing directors like David Fincher have adopted Steven Soderbergh adopted it so quickly. And they just love the freedom that you have and the instantaneous, instantaneous ability to just see what you've got rewind it, look at it and go, okay, rewind it, listen to me and see what you've got, and be able to adjust on time onset, right at the moment. It's wonderful. So digital has its place, there's no question about it. And there's no question that digital will be the future. You know, there it is, the future it is now it is what it is. It's it's going to be here for a long, long time. But we should not abandon film. And that is my main point here. And I think that's the main point of Christopher Nolan, JJ Abrams, Tarantino and so forth, about why it is so important to keep that heritage and keep that ability to do things on film alive. So by the way, right now, as of this date in 2015 film is still the only way to archive motion pictures over the course of 50 years, 100 years, there are no hard drives that can do it yet. Solid State hard drives are still up in the air, they don't know how long they're gonna last because they're still fairly new technology. So film celluloid is the only way to archive film unknown way the archive film properly. Now you can in 100 years, 150 years, you can still bust it out, put it on, throw some light through a projector and be able to get an image. And that's something digital has not caught up with yet. So before you start ragging too heavily on film, all your favorite movies are still being archived on film celluloid, because it is the only option out there. But I hope you guys if you guys ever do get a chance to shoot film, please do so it is a magical magical experience. So please don't forget to head over to filmmaking podcast, calm filmmaking podcast.com and leave us an honest review on iTunes. It helps us out a lot and helps the show out a lot too. And if you're interested in any of the things I've talked about in the show, head over to get the show notes at indie film hustle calm forward slash zero 28 there's links video clips, all of that stuff is in the show notes so thank you guys again for listening. And guys do me a favor if you actually see Hateful Eight in 70 millimeter or on film or film prints of it. Let me know what you guys think I'm dying to hear what you guys really feel and what emotions you felt when you watched it was it crappy was like oh my god, the Image flickering all this kind of stuff. Leave it in the comments in the show notes, leaving in the comments or drop me a line on Facebook or on our own indie film hustle. And let me know what you think. So keep that dream alive. Keep that hustle going, and I'll talk to you guys soon.

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