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Inside VBAT

Martin Scorsese, the retrospective

A VBAT Popcorn Adventure Time initiative

By Vasco Valentim
Creative at VBAT

De Niro and Scorsese in the set of Casino, 1995

Martin Scorsese, even though not a true cinema author, as his peers Allen, Jarmusch or even Lynch to some extent, is perhaps one of the most recognizable directors American Cinema has under its belt. His name is a brand. His oeuvre, deep, consistent but also eclectic and diverse. Even if you haven’t seen a Scorsese’s film, there are certain values and images that are associated with his brand. If you did see some of his work, you know pretty much what you get when his name is attached to a project, either as a director or as a producer.

Set of posters of some of the New York based films from Martin Scorsese

With a career that spans over five decades, he has under his umbrella absolute classics such as Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, Goodfellas, Raging Bull or Casino.

His films are thick and layered works of art, where, more often than not, he embeds his Italian-American and Christian roots.

A couple of weeks ago, a small group of VBAT creatives went to a dedicated tour of the Martin Scorsese Retrospective that is now (and until September 3rd) at the Eye Museum in Amsterdam. The night-out was held under our super-mega-awesome Popcorn Adventure Time initiative, this time around, its third edition.

The exhibition showcases his prolific work, focused mainly on his most well-known films, with varied samples of movie props (great to see La Motta’s boxing trunks and gloves), plenty of self-made storyboards and letters and documents from Scorsese and other crew/cast members.

Media installation on four screens © Deutsche Kinemathek / M. Stefanowski, 2013

The space is divided under overarching themes that cover most of Scorsese’s career: his roots and family, relationships, men and women, New York (a character in itself, present in so many of his films), montage, among many others. His relationship with Music is also highlighted, with a dedicated room — Scorsese has a passion for music and in his pictures, that is explored in great extent; he has even directed a few video clips and music documentaries.

De Niro and Scorsese on the set of Taxi Driver, 1976

Throughout the exhibition, juxtaposed excerpts of some of Scorsese’s films are projected, showcasing the recurrent parallelisms in his work: the sacrifice and crucifixion, for instance, in the martyrs of David Carradine’s character in Boxcar Bertha (1972) and Jesus Christ (The Last Temptation of Christ, 1988) or even more recently in Silence (2016). Faith and truth are a common thread that you can trace back since his major breakthrough film, Mean Streets. He is an emotional and passionate film maker, something that you can see in his love for his characters, films but also in the devotion and dedication he shares for the industry itself.

Scorsese trilogy about religion
Scorsese Times — EYE publication

Really interesting to admire is Scorsese's creative collaboration with design-guru Saul Bass but also with his pupil, Dan Perri (by the way, creator of one of the most recognizable logos and intros of our times, the Star Wars wordmark/crawl), for the main titles design of films such as Taxi Driver (Perri, 1976), the magnificent opening of Raging Bull (Perri, 1980), Age of Innocence (Bass, 1993) or Casino (Saul & Elaine Bass, 1995).

As a final note, a suggestion to, not only attend to this retrospective but also, and perhaps above all, go to the Eye and immerse yourself in one of his films. The museum is projecting this summer most of his pictures, some in digitally restored versions, as is the Taxi Driver 4K version (for the lack of a 70mm print), that celebrated last year its 40th anniversary. There’s nothing better than a cinema to enjoy the doom and gloom world of Travis Bickle.

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written by Vasco Valentim
Creative at VBAT
edited by Connie Fluhme



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VBAT Refreshing

VBAT Refreshing

Multidisciplinary Branding and Design agency. Constantly Creative, Always Refreshing. Creating Iconic Brands.