In an age now dominated by Computer Generated Imaging, and box office takings meaning more than critical recognition, there are symbols of cinema that have ingrained themselves in film culture for past, present and future. Martin Scorsese, arguably my favourite director, has been for the best part of 40 years, a thought leader, pioneer and mastermind of classical and contemporary cinema. Naturally, when I heard ACMI was hosting an exhibit, I booked my tickets early to jump in and marvel at one of my hero’s and his work. It was also on my birthday, just to add that extra incentive ..
The exhibit was undoubtedly intriguing, giving the viewer a good sense of the man behind the clapperboard. Admittedly biased, coming from an italian background myself, it was easy to resonate with a lot of the photos, videos and cultural themes highlighted by Scorsese as catalysts for characters within his films. The exhibit highlighted how greatly his upbringing influenced his early works, such as his small brooklyn apartment essentially being mirrored by Henry Hill’s family home in “Goodfellas”. Martin’s (call we call him Martin?) iconic voice being broadcasted through the headpieces, made the experience all the more real, speaking about his early health struggles, his relationships with his family, and his interest in film, deriving straight from his experience as a first generation Italian American.
Similarly, it was great to see a breakdown of the movie making process. We as an audience are only given the final product, and, for those who don't have any experience within cinema, are largely unaware of the complexities, detail, and idea development that goes into making a film. The stories boards, scripts and evolution of better quality roll film, something Scorsese pleaded Kodak to develop for years (getting the following of other cinema heavyweights like Steven Spielberg) gave the viewer a more in depth insight into the manufacturing of films.
For a more interactive experience (there are, admittedly not many), exhibition goers can go into the replica of the raging bull boxing ring, surrounded by screens of Jake Lamotta’s loss to Sugar Ray Robinson. In addition, the seated screening of Scorsese's most famous film moment montages, displayed over four screens, was an engrossingly captivating experience for any Scorsese film lover. The Travis Bickle “Are you looking at me” from “Taxi Driver” remains my undoubted favorite.
So, for those of you who have a day off, and feel like indulging in something new, whether you're a Scorsese lover or just film admirer, the ACMI exhibit offers you a very personal, very detailed insight into one of the great artists of our time.