Martin Scorsese And Mean Streets Film Studies Essay

1396 words (6 pages) Essay

1st Jan 1970 Film Studies Reference this

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Authorship is important in every art form, for reason of intellectual property rights and for reasons of status and identification. The film critic Andrew Sarris became the proponent of what is now called auteur theory. Sarris claimed that “film at its best constitutes the kind of inspired personal expression from a director that we expect to find in a major author”, Sarris therefore said “we can treat great directors who develop a signature style as auteurs”. http://www.cs.grinnell.edu/~simpsone/Connections/Film/Author/index.html. The word “author” is a driven from the French word auteur. Sometime the word used as “auteurism” marks a major part played in the critical debates by French film critics, especially those associated with journal Cahiers du Cinéma in the 1950s and 1960s.the directors were claimed and considered to be the “author” of the film. This did not however mean that every director was to be considered to be an auteur (http://www.filmreference.com/encyclopedia/Academy-Awards-Crime-Films/Auteur-Theory-and-Authorship.html).Auteur theory suggests that a director, “can use the same apparatus of filmmaking in the same way that a writer uses a pen or a painter uses paint and a paintbrush”. (http://dlibrary.acu.edu.au/staffhome/siryan/Screen/Auteur%20Theory.html). The auteur theory became the basis of the French cinematic movement, the ‘nouvelle vague’ also known as the new wave. (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/44609/auteur-theory).

http://www.cs.grinnell.edu/~simpsone/Connections/Film/Author/index.html

In this assignment I am going to be talking about Martin Scorsese in terms of authorship in relation to mean streets. Martin Scorsese is considered one of the most influential directors of his era. Born in 1942, Martin Scorsese grew up in the lower Manhattans Little Italy neighborhood, (which was later the setting for several of his films). Growing he was captivated by Friday night broadcasts of Italian- neo realist films, from then Scorsese was drifted toward the European cinema. He became attracted to a style of filmmaking that was different from Hollywood. After high school Scorsese entered the priesthood and spent a year at a catholic seminary before dropping out, (this had a big influence on his films). He studied at New York City University, where he was greatly influenced by the cinematic realism of French and Italian new wave. The impact of Scorsese can be shown in a number of ways including such as his directing style, the films he has made and the relationships he has made in the industry. Scorsese has a uses film as a mode of personal expression, he uses film as an emotional and artistic passage. We can see the expression of his upbringing in several of his films, e.g. in “who’s knocking at my door” (1968), which feels a lot representative of Scorsese’s own up-bringing as it introduces themes of catholic guilt, (also introduced in mean streets 1973), as he had a Roman Catholic up-bringing. [Data gathered from (http://www.notablebiographies.com/Sc-St/Scorsese-Martin.html) and V.LoBruto; Martin Scorsese a biography 2008; Praeger Publishers Inc

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The themes and tendencies use by Scorsese have remained the same. He addresses such themes as Italian American identity, violence, Roman Catholic concepts of guilt and redemption. His authorship styles include a feel for New York Italian American street life, rapid editing, eclectic soundtracks and a troubled protagonist. Another typical Scorsese technique which stands out is his use of the voice over narration. We can see this in most of his films including Mean Streets (1973). Scorsese’s use of voice over allows him to add vital elements to his characters. It also allows the audience to enter the characters minds and determine what he is really thinking, this will make the audience relate more and understand the characters.

I am now going to apply these in Mean Streets (1973) and also analyse the final sequence from the movie. Mean Streets is a film about a young Italian American who is trying to cope in the tough environment streets of New York. All of the above authorship styles apply to Mean Streets. Mean Streets powerfully portrayed life in ‘Little Italy’ where he grew up. The film also showed off talent and started a relationship with Robert De Niro, who went on to star in eight more of Scorsese films.

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The scene that I am analysing is all shot in low key lighting; this is done to give the night time effect. Scorsese uses low key lighting in a few of his other films but notably in Goodfellas (1990), which contains low key lighting throughout. In the scene there is a fast paced electric rock soundtrack playing. This is also one of Scorsese’s signature techniques. The music is setting up the mood raising interest to the audience. The electric soundtrack plays so sudden that the audience excitement just builds up. Overall the music that Scorsese uses portrays the mood as well as the setting of the film. For example in GoodFellas (1990) and Casino (1995) 60s Italian music is played to make the scenes seem as though they were set at the time. The scene is shot in a tracking shot as the cars are being followed in the road. Scorsese is well known for showing off his tracking shot skills in all of his films. In the scene, there are a lot of mid shots, these is to show off the character and the emotions so that the audience can sympathise and relate with or vise-versa. In the scene the action begins when the shooting begins, the blood in the scene is exaggerated but this is to raise excitement, anxiety and a dramatic effect to the audience. The shooting sequence is really fast paced, distorted and consists of a fast paced dialogue, though this is another one of scorsese’s signatures, it has a dramatic effect to it. Scorsese films tend to have unflinchingly graphic and realistic violence, we can see this thought the film for example during the bar fight. The electric music still playing in the background has no meaning with what is happening in the scene, however this may make the film more appealing to the audience that know the soundtrack, thus attracting more audience by the soundtrack, this requires cultural knowledge. However I can argue that the rock electric music is connotating the meaning and message of the film, thus associated with sex, drugs and bad boys. The intensity in the scene in increased more when they show the close up of the foot on the brakes, this raises tension as the audience want to know if the car is going to crash or not. It is interesting how the music suddenly stops when the car crashes, this may be to give effect of shock to the audience. And the water pipe bursts we can only here the diegetic sound of the water. This scene raises enigmas to the audience as they are curious as to did anyone die? The camera also show a mid-close up of the two guys in the car to show that they are curious as well as to did anyone die, get hurt etc. suddenly again with a signature movie slow paced music unexpectedly starts though this time it matches with the action in the scene. The character get out of the car in a kind of slow motion take, this is often used by Scorsese, this is to give dramatic effect to the scene in this case when bloody Charlie falls on to his knees, this is a dramatic shot and it builds emotions to the audience. Scorsese has used the slow motion effect throughout the film, Mean Streets (1973) as well as in GoodFellas (1990), Taxi Driver (1976) and Raging Bull (1980). The water from the pipe was shown to have the effect as if it is raining; this is to signify that it is over. This scene is followed by several scenes from other character in different places. Then there is a long shot of New York City probably to show on more time were the action happens. Scorsese’s films are usually set in New York City where he grew up. The scene then fades to black which usually connotates the pass of time, then the credits are shown.

In the analysis I have evaluated most of scorsese’s signature cinematography techniques in from one scene. Martin Scorsese has always done something different to distinguish himself from other directors.

Authorship is important in every art form, for reason of intellectual property rights and for reasons of status and identification. The film critic Andrew Sarris became the proponent of what is now called auteur theory. Sarris claimed that “film at its best constitutes the kind of inspired personal expression from a director that we expect to find in a major author”, Sarris therefore said “we can treat great directors who develop a signature style as auteurs”. http://www.cs.grinnell.edu/~simpsone/Connections/Film/Author/index.html. The word “author” is a driven from the French word auteur. Sometime the word used as “auteurism” marks a major part played in the critical debates by French film critics, especially those associated with journal Cahiers du Cinéma in the 1950s and 1960s.the directors were claimed and considered to be the “author” of the film. This did not however mean that every director was to be considered to be an auteur (http://www.filmreference.com/encyclopedia/Academy-Awards-Crime-Films/Auteur-Theory-and-Authorship.html).Auteur theory suggests that a director, “can use the same apparatus of filmmaking in the same way that a writer uses a pen or a painter uses paint and a paintbrush”. (http://dlibrary.acu.edu.au/staffhome/siryan/Screen/Auteur%20Theory.html). The auteur theory became the basis of the French cinematic movement, the ‘nouvelle vague’ also known as the new wave. (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/44609/auteur-theory).

http://www.cs.grinnell.edu/~simpsone/Connections/Film/Author/index.html

In this assignment I am going to be talking about Martin Scorsese in terms of authorship in relation to mean streets. Martin Scorsese is considered one of the most influential directors of his era. Born in 1942, Martin Scorsese grew up in the lower Manhattans Little Italy neighborhood, (which was later the setting for several of his films). Growing he was captivated by Friday night broadcasts of Italian- neo realist films, from then Scorsese was drifted toward the European cinema. He became attracted to a style of filmmaking that was different from Hollywood. After high school Scorsese entered the priesthood and spent a year at a catholic seminary before dropping out, (this had a big influence on his films). He studied at New York City University, where he was greatly influenced by the cinematic realism of French and Italian new wave. The impact of Scorsese can be shown in a number of ways including such as his directing style, the films he has made and the relationships he has made in the industry. Scorsese has a uses film as a mode of personal expression, he uses film as an emotional and artistic passage. We can see the expression of his upbringing in several of his films, e.g. in “who’s knocking at my door” (1968), which feels a lot representative of Scorsese’s own up-bringing as it introduces themes of catholic guilt, (also introduced in mean streets 1973), as he had a Roman Catholic up-bringing. [Data gathered from (http://www.notablebiographies.com/Sc-St/Scorsese-Martin.html) and V.LoBruto; Martin Scorsese a biography 2008; Praeger Publishers Inc

The themes and tendencies use by Scorsese have remained the same. He addresses such themes as Italian American identity, violence, Roman Catholic concepts of guilt and redemption. His authorship styles include a feel for New York Italian American street life, rapid editing, eclectic soundtracks and a troubled protagonist. Another typical Scorsese technique which stands out is his use of the voice over narration. We can see this in most of his films including Mean Streets (1973). Scorsese’s use of voice over allows him to add vital elements to his characters. It also allows the audience to enter the characters minds and determine what he is really thinking, this will make the audience relate more and understand the characters.

I am now going to apply these in Mean Streets (1973) and also analyse the final sequence from the movie. Mean Streets is a film about a young Italian American who is trying to cope in the tough environment streets of New York. All of the above authorship styles apply to Mean Streets. Mean Streets powerfully portrayed life in ‘Little Italy’ where he grew up. The film also showed off talent and started a relationship with Robert De Niro, who went on to star in eight more of Scorsese films.

The scene that I am analysing is all shot in low key lighting; this is done to give the night time effect. Scorsese uses low key lighting in a few of his other films but notably in Goodfellas (1990), which contains low key lighting throughout. In the scene there is a fast paced electric rock soundtrack playing. This is also one of Scorsese’s signature techniques. The music is setting up the mood raising interest to the audience. The electric soundtrack plays so sudden that the audience excitement just builds up. Overall the music that Scorsese uses portrays the mood as well as the setting of the film. For example in GoodFellas (1990) and Casino (1995) 60s Italian music is played to make the scenes seem as though they were set at the time. The scene is shot in a tracking shot as the cars are being followed in the road. Scorsese is well known for showing off his tracking shot skills in all of his films. In the scene, there are a lot of mid shots, these is to show off the character and the emotions so that the audience can sympathise and relate with or vise-versa. In the scene the action begins when the shooting begins, the blood in the scene is exaggerated but this is to raise excitement, anxiety and a dramatic effect to the audience. The shooting sequence is really fast paced, distorted and consists of a fast paced dialogue, though this is another one of scorsese’s signatures, it has a dramatic effect to it. Scorsese films tend to have unflinchingly graphic and realistic violence, we can see this thought the film for example during the bar fight. The electric music still playing in the background has no meaning with what is happening in the scene, however this may make the film more appealing to the audience that know the soundtrack, thus attracting more audience by the soundtrack, this requires cultural knowledge. However I can argue that the rock electric music is connotating the meaning and message of the film, thus associated with sex, drugs and bad boys. The intensity in the scene in increased more when they show the close up of the foot on the brakes, this raises tension as the audience want to know if the car is going to crash or not. It is interesting how the music suddenly stops when the car crashes, this may be to give effect of shock to the audience. And the water pipe bursts we can only here the diegetic sound of the water. This scene raises enigmas to the audience as they are curious as to did anyone die? The camera also show a mid-close up of the two guys in the car to show that they are curious as well as to did anyone die, get hurt etc. suddenly again with a signature movie slow paced music unexpectedly starts though this time it matches with the action in the scene. The character get out of the car in a kind of slow motion take, this is often used by Scorsese, this is to give dramatic effect to the scene in this case when bloody Charlie falls on to his knees, this is a dramatic shot and it builds emotions to the audience. Scorsese has used the slow motion effect throughout the film, Mean Streets (1973) as well as in GoodFellas (1990), Taxi Driver (1976) and Raging Bull (1980). The water from the pipe was shown to have the effect as if it is raining; this is to signify that it is over. This scene is followed by several scenes from other character in different places. Then there is a long shot of New York City probably to show on more time were the action happens. Scorsese’s films are usually set in New York City where he grew up. The scene then fades to black which usually connotates the pass of time, then the credits are shown.

In the analysis I have evaluated most of scorsese’s signature cinematography techniques in from one scene. Martin Scorsese has always done something different to distinguish himself from other directors.

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