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Martin Scorsese: A Life in Pictures

20 December 2011

The legendary American director of Mean Streets, Raging Bull, Goodfellas and Hugo talks about his career in film.


 Martin Scorsese was born in New York in 1942 to parents of Sicilian stock, whose Roman Catholic heritage and beliefs informed his early life and films. After a high school desire to enrol in the priesthood, he switched to cinema, receiving a MA in film directing at NYU. After honing his distinct style on a number of short films, he gained wide cultural recognition for his gritty New York drama Mean Streets. Perhaps more so than any other director, he has managed to combine mainstream box-office success with critical and academic acclaim.

You create the atmosphere, and make it as easy as possible for the actor to if they're onto something.

In the full video, available to watch on BAFTA Guru, Scorsese tells Francine Stock how the panic of deadlines can lend his actors an energy that creates 'transcendental moments'. He describes his early exposure to foreign cinema that informs his vision, as well as the powerful inspiration that occurs when you 'latch onto a mentor'. He dissects the elaborate cinematography and sound design of his classic film work, and talks about his teenage experiences with Goodfellas' Copacobana club.