Taxi Driver, Martin Scorsese's masterpiece turns 46

Taxi Driver, Martin Scorsese's masterpiece turns 46

Taxi Driver

Exactly forty-six years ago, on February 8, 1976, the premiere of what many critics and insiders still define as one of the most important films of all time was staged in New York: Taxi Driver. We do not know if this epithet can actually be true, however we know well that the film directed by Martin Scorsese and starring a Robert De Niro in a state of grace is one of the most beautiful works signed by the great American director. Probably the film, among his, is the one that most struck the collective imagination. Yet it is also true that the film plays a leading role within the history of cinema, bringing to full maturity the aesthetic and cultural revolution of the projects born during the so-called New Hollywood. Let's proceed in order.

Martin Scorsese's most iconic film

Although many mistakenly think that this is Scorsese's debut film, the director had already directed four films before Taxi Driver , one of which (or Mean Streets - Sunday in church, Monday in hell, 1973) had largely contributed to characterize his style between the red of blood and that of passion, between street violence and faith in an afterlife, between personal revenge and that of a society unable to welcome those who live there.

With Taxi Driver, all these issues not only come back to the surface, but they manifest themselves loudly in what will soon become Scorsese's most recognizable and famous title, a sort of artistic manifesto, his business card for excellence. In the full seventies, US cinema was going through a new cycle destined to bring to the fore those who still today we consider to be the "last" (from a purely chronological point of view) Masters: Steven Spielberg, Woody Allen, Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas, Scorsese himself are just some of the better known names. At the time, young people full of ideas and energy, these authors made the most of the social and cultural condition in which the States prevailed in that decade and, consequently, managed to give a new push, a new polish to the film industry.

La New Hollywood

if (jQuery ("# ​​crm_srl-th_culturapop_d_mh2_1"). is (": visible")) {console.log ("Edinet ADV adding zone: tag crm_srl- th_culturapop_d_mh2_1 slot id: th_culturapop_d_mh2 "); } After entire decades in which the politics of the Studio System had dominated unchallenged in Hollywood. A difficult standard to unhinge was decreed, which provided for strict dictates of censorship accompanied by a purely familiar target audience. The arrival of television on the one hand, the strength of the youth movements of the late 1960s on the other, together with a ferocious criticism of the war in Vietnam and of the ruling politics that had subsidized it, are the drops that slowly they bring the pot of cinematographic creativity to overflow.

In this new Hollywood, in fact, stories of marginalized people are told, stories of anti-heroes on the edges of society. Stories of young people who do not see themselves in the plastered and stale values ​​of previous generations and who are thirsty for change. All this is inevitably accompanied by a stylistic change that will favor violence, erotic tension, mingling with popular music (rock and roll began to be an integral part of the soundtracks of films, which was practically prohibited until then). >
In this climate, the example of Taxi Driver emerges as one of the most complete and precious gems. The parable of Travis Bickle, a former marine who fought in Vietnam and who suffers from insomnia, takes him into the darkest depths (literally) of his city. Become a night taxi driver and start breathing the New York of the desperate, the outcast.

if (jQuery ("# ​​crm_srl-th_culturapop_d_mh3_1"). Is (": visible")) {console.log ("Edinet ADV adding zone: tag crm_srl-th_culturapop_d_mh3_1 slot id: th_culturapop_d_mh3 "); } From drug dealers to prostitutes, a fauna that reveals itself only in the darkest hours of the night. American cinema of those years felt the need to show everything that had remained hidden until then. Scorsese thus signs a funeral elegy for a metropolis, a society, a nation that is no longer able to show itself solely as sparkling and magical. The recent war is too open a wound that needs to be healed. In this sense, the brainwashing suffered by the protagonist and his frustration lead him to carry out a real massacre. A purifying carnage to free the world from evil, to get rid of the dustbin.

But what about me?

Robert De Niro is simply perfect to give face and body to a solitary executioner who is inside itself harbors the indelible wounds of a psychological conflict, even before a war. Impossible not to mention the legendary mirror scene where, practicing with the gun, Travis recites the famous monologue. "But are you saying to me? ”, He repeats several times. The sense of bewilderment and the inability to recognize one's own reflected identity are a perfect symbol of the youth discomfort of the time and of the ever widening gap between generations. However, it is worth remembering how that exact moment was completely improvised by De Niro.

if (jQuery ("# ​​crm_srl-th_culturapop_d_mh4_1"). Is (": visible")) {console.log ("Edinet ADV adding zone: tag crm_srl-th_culturapop_d_mh4_1 slot id: th_culturapop_d_mh4 "); } In the script it was not written what the character should actually say and the actor went off the cuff. Probably the six months spent before filming working as a taxi driver to touch the reality that he would then have to interpret, allowed the actor to identify perfectly with the protagonist to the point of improvising what would become one of the most famous sequences of all. the times.

Awards, consecrations and farewells

Taxi Driver won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, but failed to win any Academy Awards on the most important night of the year. It was nominated for Best Feature Film, Best Actor in a Leading Role (De Niro), Best Supporting Actress (Jodie Foster) and Best Score (Bernard Herrmann). It is precisely on these last two names that it makes sense to say a few words. In fact, it is interesting to note how they find themselves "opposites" from an age and career point of view.

The famous actress, then only fourteen years old (during the shooting, to protect her sensitivity, she was followed by a psychologist and treated with gloves for the whole process), it was not at its debut on the big screen but certainly the one in Taxi Driver was the part that consecrated it in all respects. Bernard Herrmann, on the other hand, does not need great introductions.

One of the most beloved, most famous and celebrated composers of all time (just think that we owe most of the successes of the musical themes of Alfred Hitchcock's films to him including the famous Psyco notes). The one with Martin Scorsese will be his last work. The composer in fact finished the job but then disappeared before the film was released in theaters. A great farewell, therefore, a great career finale, for one of the best of every era.

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