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  • Writer's pictureCarrie Specht

Martin Scorsese to Introduce Two of His Classic Films at the TCMFF

Scorsese is arguably America's greatest living director. The man is an absolute maestro of the moving image, producing master piece after master piece. He's also a filmmaker who reveres the history of cinema. So, his love of Turner Classic Movies (TCM) and their love of him is a mutually fulfilling one. TCM allows him another platform from which to advocate for film preservation, and he provides TCM a prestigious face in support of the network. Fortunately for Classic Film Festival attendees this April that famous face will personally introduce two of his most iconic films: Mean Streets and Goodfellas.

Scorsese has written columns for TCM's viewing guide, has made on air introductions of beloved films, and has appeared at the TCM Classic Film Festival in support of the presentation of nitrate prints. Frankly, there's no other person I'd like to host a screening of a classic film other than Scorsese (sorry Ben Mankiewicz). The opportunity to see him introduce his own films is an event one truly should not miss. And now you'll have two opportunities not to do so!

Mean Streets (1973) is a gritty reflection on life in New York's "Little Italy". There is no romanticism in Scorsese's vision as he depicts the neighborhood where he grew up, and the rough and tormented personalities that populated his home turf. This is a personal film that says more about the filmmaker than any other film he has ever made. Mean Streets sets the tone for most of Scorcece's future productions. His work is often concerned with the nature of violence and male relationships. His subject matter often reflects his own angst as a young man growing up in the violent streets of Manhattan's Lower East Side.

Seventeen years later, Scorsese produced another great film about criminals in New York. The mob tale, Goodfellas (1990) is widely considered by die-hard fans to be his best film. This is the film that elevated the film maestro to cinema legend. The film is truly iconic. In no other film within his canon of work does the Oscar winning artist so beautifully balance his love of Hollywood tropes while completely discarding many of its most sacred conventions. In many ways the iconic film is to the 1990s what Coppola's The Godfather was for the 1970s. Some cinephiles may think this opinion is sacrilegious overkill. However, if you push all preconceived notions aside, you know it's true.

When I was a grad student at NYU, Spike Lee had Scorsese came to a class as a guest speaker. I can personally say that the man is a force of nature. The moment he entered the the room the atmosphere became electric. His personality could not be contained and his energy was overwhelming. From what I've see so far from his sporadic TCM appearances, that impact is not diminished on a home TV. Of course you don't hav to take my word for it. See it for yourself May 6th and let me know if I've over sold him. I have a feeling I'm not going to hear a single contradiction.


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