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The Invention of Hugo Cabret

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Reply #30 on: November 05, 2011, 10:21:11 PM
Martin Scorsese Calls Filming 'Hugo' in 3D 'An Enjoyable Headache'
Source: THR

The director spoke highly of the third dimension at a screening of his new film, comparing recent advances in the technology to the introduction of color.

Martin Scorsese gave a strong endorsement to 3D and predicted that more innovation is on the way at a Saturday afternoon screening of his new film Hugo, based on the novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick.

"Most people have stereoscopic vision so why belittle that element of our existence?" Scorsese said at a post-screening panel with key members of his below the line crew at the Regal 14 in downtown Los Angeles. "Why not use it? Everything moves along and there's no major catastrophe. We're basically headed for holograms. You have to think that way."

Scorsese pointed out that certain technologies that are taken for granted today took years to perfect. For example, he said "there was a mindset against color because . . . people said it didn't look realistic enough."

Director Paul Thomas Anderson moderated the panel, which included editor Thelma Schoonmaker, production designer Dante Ferretti, composer Howard Shore, cinematographer Robert Richardson and effects man Rob Legato.

Scorsese said 3D is "exciting but it demands respect. You really are back to square one. . . We just kept pushing it to see how far we could go. . . We would look at a shot and say, `What could we do to use the depth?' " He summed up the experience this way: "It really was an enjoyable headache."

Hugo, a Paramount release starring Ben Kingsley and Sacha Baron Cohen, opens Nov. 23.
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol

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Reply #31 on: November 06, 2011, 01:53:18 AM
under the paving stones.


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Reply #32 on: November 06, 2011, 06:25:22 PM
Martin Scorsese Talks The Endless Possibilities Of 3D With Paul Thomas Anderson At ‘Hugo’ Q&A
via The Playlist

As much a film scholar as a filmmaker, there are few directors better-equipped to discuss the convergence of art and technology than Martin Scorsese. But during a recent Q&A about his latest film, the 3D opus “Hugo,” Scorsese offered a few observations about the past, present and future of entertainment that suggested he’s qualified for another title: futurist. “If everything moves along and there’s no major catastrophes, we’re basically headed towards holograms,” Scorsese said during a panel discussion Saturday. “Why can’t you have Hamlet in 3D who comes out to the audience and does ‘To be or not to be?’ I mean, they do in the theater. You have to think that way. Don’t let the economics, and fashion, inhibit you if you’re being creative.”

In something resembling a film lover’s ultimate fantasy, Scorsese appeared at a preview screening of “Hugo” Saturday afternoon at Los Angeles’ downtown L.A. Live entertainment complex, where he joined Visual Effects Supervisor Robert Legato, Cinematographer Robert Richardson, Composer Howard Shore, Production Designer Dante Ferretti, and Editor Thelma Schoonmaker for an extensive discussion of the film, moderated by none other than filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson. The film itself was in an advanced state of completion, at least in comparison to last month’s preview screening at the New York Film Festival, with only one or two shots still unfinished, and the credits incomplete. But Scorsese indicated that even a passion project like this one is a race to the finish, no matter how seasoned a filmmaker you are.

“It was a lot of fun, and yes it was a headache,” he said to Anderson, who giggled as Scorsese struggled to get comfortable in a seat where the diminutive filmmaker’s feet didn’t touch the ground. “But it was a really enjoyable headache. It’s a discovery with each shot – it was a rethinking about how to make pictures, with of course the obvious element of 3D, but also of a boy’s memory of where he was in the past, and a sense of how to create a heightened impression of Paris in 1929 and 1930. It was arduous, but most of the time, a great deal of fun.”

Although producer Graham King first gave John Logan’s adaptation of Brian Selznick’s book to Scorsese to read, the director said there was a decidedly more personal reason to do the film, independent even of the story’s passionate celebration of classic cinema. “I have a young daughter – she’ll be 12 in a couple of weeks – and so I guess it was sort of two trains running in a way,” he said. “Being with her every day, I just began to see things differently and perceive life and the world around one in a child’s view, through the imagination of a child, the creativity of a child, but also a child’s thoughts and storytelling. So it just seemed to be a very happy coincidence that this story, and also the fact that this story resolves itself through the device of motion pictures.”

Scorsese revealed that the first stop as he undertook “Hugo” was contacting production designer Dante Ferretti to develop the look of the film, whose story took place in Paris in 1929 and 1930. Ferretti said Scorsese perhaps predictably showed him a wide variety of films in order to steer him to what he wanted. “You showed me many, many, many movies, period movies, and it was a big help for me,” he said. “You showed me many movies and said, I like this shot, and so I saw probably 20 movies for just two or three things. But it was very important for me because this is the way in which I work always – and he knows very well what he wants, and I think we did, I hope, so far, something good.”

A cinephile himself, Anderson solicited Scorsese and his collaborators to discuss the creative process, particularly in terms of creating and photographing the film’s central location, a Parisian train station. Even after decades of incredibly accomplished work, however, Scorsese said it was still largely a process of discovery, thanks in no small part to the use of 3D, which was a first for him. “I really honestly don’t know how we thought of it,” Scorsese confessed. “I designed the shots I wanted, and Bob [Richardson] and Dante would tell me and sort of work out a time schedule as to what was going to be ready when.”

VFX supervisor Rob Legato indicated he did a lot of work ahead of time, not just in constructing shots, but virtual locations where Scorsese’s creativity could run free, and then be refined. “We would pre-vis a lot, so prior to the sets being built we created sort of a lighter version of what was created for ‘Avatar’,” Legato explained. “You could pan and tilt the camera, you could move a little mini-crane and figure out and start designing shots – to say, this is too wide, that’s too tight, and we started building it, and we would just pre-build with all of Marty’s ideas. And then we’d bring Bob over and Bob would operate the camera or I would operate the camera and then keep on working on it.”

Legato said that his work continued well into postproduction, as they were whittling down the film into final form. “Pretty much as we were finishing shooting, I would be finishing these pre-vises, and the sets were huge, so as we were shooting we had to figure the best way to get out of this. Sometimes we would have to shorten scenes, we would have elaborate chase scenes and they would have to be boiled down to two or three shots, so we’d go off, talk about it, and it kept on sort of like an organic process we’d just do every day as we were fighting a time schedule.”

Scorsese indicated that the use of 3D was initially a laborious process, but the team quickly adapted to the technology. “The use of 3D is exciting, but it demands a respect,” he said. Richardson agreed that even for experienced filmmakers, they were relative novices, and were forced to make different choices technically in order to get through shooting efficiently. “We hadn’t shot 3D so it was obviously a learning process for us shot by shot,” Richardson said. “We were using two rigs with different lenses so we would just switch rigs prior [to shooting].” Scorsese revealed that switching the lenses initially took 45 minutes, but before long the team got that time down to ten or so. Scorsese said, “We even had a rig put on Larry McConkey with his steadicam. It took him two months to build a rig, to build one of those Segway things, and he rode it on a Segway.”

Thelma Schoonmaker has worked with Scorsese for decades, and she said that the process of editing “Hugo” demanded that she combine past techniques with new technology. “I would cut in the morning just with 2D because my work monitors and my timelines are 2D,” Schoonmaker said. “But then when Marty would come we would always cut in 3D. It was very important for us to do that.”

After Anderson opened up the panel to questions from the audience, the filmmakers received a predictable wealth of compliments on their technical and artistic achievements with the film. After one viewer commented that “Hugo” reminded them what it was like to see a film for the first time, Scorsese talked about how 3D is not just a gimmick, but an important artistic tool which, like so many other advancements in moviemaking, will have to endure many growing pains before it’s fully embraced.

“The first time images started to move, immediately, people wanted color, sound, a big screen, and depth – and that’s just what we’re doing now,” Scorsese said. “Ultimately, it took until 1935 to get Technicolor right, and even then, until 1960 or so, color was only deemed appropriate for musicals, comedies and westerns, no serious, quote-unquote, films. But there was a mindset against color because there were so many attempts at color, from 1895 when they were all hand-tinted. And I think ultimately with the right people behind 3D the way it is now, there are people working in 3D, and other filmmakers who are even more inventive with 3D, for me it’s just another element to tell a story.”

As the Q&A wrapped up, Scorsese said that he thinks a testament to the inevitable success of 3D is the simple fact that in our daily lives, everything we see is already three dimensional. “As I’m sitting here now, I’m seeing you in 3D,” he observed. “Most people have stereo vision, so why belittle that very, very important part of our existence? There’s got to be for all of our technical expertise, a comfortable way of dealing with it. Why not use it?”


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Reply #33 on: November 23, 2011, 02:23:48 AM

How Marty Scorsese risked it all and lived to risk again in Hollywood.

AT 69, AN AGE WHEN MOST HOLLYWOOD DIRECTORS have been packed off after a hollow cavalcade of plaudits, roasts, and nostalgic fetes, Martin Scorsese is once again panicked about hitting a deadline. His new movie is Hugo, a 3-D children's movie being released by Paramount Pictures this Thanksgiving weekend, and Scorsese has never before directed in 3-D, nor, God knows, made anything resembling a kid flick. But this is what life is like for Marty, as everyone calls him. The director has achieved the trifecta of a fulfilling, creative life: enough money to do only what truly interests him, enough freedom to attack those projects in a way that is satisfying, and enough appreciation from his peers to tame--just slightly, just ever so slightly--the neurotic beast of self-doubt. After 22 movies, five commercials, 13 documentaries, a handful of music videos, three children, five wives, and 25 studios; after insolvency and misery, after box-office failures and years of going unappreciated; after the one Oscar and all the others he should have won, Marty Scorsese has earned the right that every creative person dreams of: the right never to be bored. And what all this adds up to in his case, what this really means to this particular man, is that he has earned the right to continue to fret every little detail in the world well into the next decade and for as long as he cares to make movies.

So as he sits down for the filmed part of a fastcompany.com interview in his office screening room, a comfortable unostentatious cave surrounded outside by posters of classic films like The Third Man, Citizen Kane, and Ladri di Biciclette (The Bicycle Thief), Hollywood's eminence grise starts off by wanting to get something straight: "Let me ask you: Do I look like Quasimodo? Am I sitting too far down in the chair? The shoulders on this jacket, against these chairs, they can scrunch up so I look like Quasimodo. Okay, is this good?" Yes, Mr. Scorsese. And how are you feeling today?

"I'm good. I'm tired. I'm tired, but in a good way. There's just so much to do. What I'm worried about is, is there confusion in the film? Because there's so many things going on, especially in a movie like this, in 3-D. There's the color timing; Bob Richardson has done the film but he's in Budapest right now shooting another film, and he's got to get the timing right, but he's doing it through Greg Fisher who's living here now, but originally Greg did it with Bob in England, so there's that problem. Rob Legato is living here now for the special effects--he doesn't live here, but he's here in New York till the picture's finished. These special effects are hard! Some take 89 days to render--89 days to render! And what if you don't like it when it comes back? I tell them at a certain point, you've gotta tell me, you've got to say: This is the point of no return, Marty; you've got to make up your mind right now about this facet of the shot! So, you know, that's when you've got to make up your mind."

Scorsese, to pick a side in an endless argument, is America's greatest living director. And yet he still can't make up his damn mind, still gets obsessed, still gets crazed by the same kinds of things that make any creative type nuts. Is he going to get the resources he needs? Will his bosses like what he's doing? Will they give him another chance on another project? How much of his creative vision will get into this project? How much will the powers that be screw with his vision? When does he say "no" to them? When does he say "yes"? Whom does he trust? And how in the world is he going to get away with doing the work he loves for his whole life?

In an era when careers are measured in months rather than decades, Scorsese has reliably delivered for 45 years--but it still isn't easy. "There's always been pressure," he says. "People say you should do it this way, someone else suggests that, yes, there's financing, but maybe you should use this actor. And there are the threats, at the end--if you don't do it this way, you'll lose your box office; if you don't do it that way, you'll never get financed again. . . . 35, 40 years of this, you get beat up." Hollywood has always been a battlefield, as rough as any more-traditional corporate setting.

And yet unlike so many creative geniuses, Scorsese hasn't burned out, he hasn't alienated the people he's worked with, and he's generally not considered a creep. Despite the fact that he's never had a massive box-office hit (Shutter Island is his biggest grosser to date, with $300 million earned worldwide), Paramount decided to give him a reported $85 million to make a 3-D children's movie about a broody child named Hugo Cabret. And while Hugo's success is uncertain (for God's sake, screams conventional wisdom, it's two hours long, it's dark, it takes place in France, and aren't people over live-action 3-D?), Scorsese is well on his way toward funding his next project, Silence--an adaptation of a book about 17th-century missionaries. In Japan! (Which is yet another foreign country, people!). Of course the spectacles audiences will wear to see Hugo will be a cross between Scorsese's own and the flimsy 3-D glasses of yore. Any man who can get this stuff financed--never mind make great art from the material--has clearly learned a trick or two. Scorsese has sweated the details of his career as thoroughly as the details of his movies. As he explains here, in his own rat-a-tat style, the man knows a few things about constructing a life of meaningful work--things that apply to anyone in the business of trying to craft a creative life.

Nobody talks about the movies the way Marty Scorsese can talk about the movies. His conversation bounds from John Cassavetes (a mentor) to Steven Spielberg (a friend) to Akira Kurosawa (an acquired taste) to George Melies, the silent-film director and innovator whose story forms the basis of Hugo. "When we begin a film," says Dante Ferretti, the Oscar-winning production designer of Kundun, Gangs of New York, The Age of Innocence, and now Hugo, "I read the script and then Marty shows me films. Many, many films, with many different references he wants me to think of for the look of our movie. He carries all these films in his head. He shows me whole films for just one shot, telling me, 'Remember this image, that's the feel I want.'"

Scorsese revels in such details. He likes to speak of directors on three levels: their films, their careers, and their lives within and without Hollywood. He is fascinated by how these men (and the occasional woman) made it--or didn't make it--through the gauntlet. In 1995, he narrated and codirected a documentary about their careers called A Personal Journey With Martin Scorsese Through American Movies. It's a career how-to video disguised as the greatest lesson in U.S. film history. Going back to D.W. Griffith, through Howard Hawks and Billy Wilder, and up to modern-day filmmakers, he looks at how these "smugglers, iconoclasts, and illusionists" managed to get some version of their creative visions on-screen. "I was mainly interested in the ones who circumvented the system to get their movies done," he explains in the video. "To survive, to master the creative process, each had to develop his own strategy."

For someone whose own innovations are numerous--the introduction of a certain New York street vernacular in Mean Streets and Who's That Knocking at My Door, the intimacy of the boxing scenes in Raging Bull, the rush and flow of Goodfellas, and now, with Hugo, a reinterpretation or rediscovery of how 3-D can bolster a film's beauty without intruding on the story--Scorsese understands himself as a product of, and a battler against, the Hollywood system. He draws clear lines from classics past to his own work: Nicolas Cage's EMT in Bringing Out the Dead is "a modern-day saint, like what Rossellini did in Europa '51"; the fight sequences in Raging Bull draw from, yes, the ballet in The Red Shoes. His comfort with the past is so deep that he romanticizes the old-Hollywood-studio system, where directors worked for one studio churning out at least a movie a year, if not three or four. "There was always a part of me that wanted to be an old-time director," he says, laughing. "But I couldn't do that. I'm not a pro."
Ferretti is one of Scorsese's trusted advisers at this point, along with director of photography Bob Richardson, costume designer Sandy Powell, casting director Ellen Lewis, and, above all, editor Thelma Schoonmaker. As much as possible, he enjoys working with the same crew. He enjoys working with the same actors, as well. First came Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel, and Joe Pesci; more recently it's been Ben Kingsley and, of course, Leonardo DiCaprio; in Silence, he'll turn once again to Daniel Day-Lewis.
"Any great artist needs a lot of support," says Schoonmaker. "We're a group that is totally committed to his high standards, and we understand what he's after." The creative process of a director, unlike that of an actor, is essentially collaborative. And some of Scorsese's greatest creative moments have come about because of suggestions by those closest to him. Watching some early takes on Raging Bull, British director Michael Powell remarked to Scorsese that "there's something wrong about the color of those red gloves." That, says Scorsese, was when he knew the film had to be shot in black and white. When Scorsese was scouting a location for his great Five Points battle in Gangs of New York, Ferretti pushed him toward the CineCitta production facilities in Rome. "We were in Venice talking about this," says Ferretti." We had considered New York, but there's nothing in the city that looks the way it did back in the 1860s. We thought about Canada, but it's too cold. So we decided to go to Rome to check out CineCitta . I loved this idea, since I live here [in Italy]. Before we went, I called up a restaurant, a good one just outside CineCitta, and I said, 'Listen, I'm bringing Mr. Martin Scorsese, and it's important that we eat well. Do you understand me? It's very important that we eat well!' So we went to CineCitta--Marty, Thelma, all of us--and after, we went to the restaurant. And that is why we shot Gangs at CineCitta! I mean, of course there were other reasons . . . "

"There are two kinds of power you have to fight," Scorsese says. "The first is the money, and that's just our system. The other is the people close around you, knowing when to accept their criticism, knowing when to say no." All directors face pressure to make their films shorter, and Scorsese simply cannot deliver a short film. He hasn't made a sub-two-hour movie in 25 years, since the 119-minute-long The Color of Money. For children's movies, the industry standard is to keep it under 90 minutes. Hugo is a two-hour visual feast, with stretches that even some adults at its New York Film Festival premiere screening found taxing. "Some may suggest--how can I put this?--that there's an indulgence on my part," says Scorsese. "But sometimes something needs time to work on a viewer. People talk about length, but it's not just length. It's pacing and rhythm. I've done some of the fastest pictures--the sequences in Goodfellas, and particularly those in Casino, which is a three-hour film that moves very fast."

It's not just a question of ignoring what may seem like completely sensible suggestions. You've also got to know when a collaboration has run its course. "Over the years, people change and they want other things. You've got to understand when a collaborator isn't satisfied anymore," says Scorsese. "Michael Ballhaus--he was a lifesaver for me, an extraordinary cameraman who helped me relearn how to make a motion picture on After Hours. The last picture he did with me was The Departed. It was a very tough picture to make. We had lots of problems with actors' schedules, and I was constantly reworking the script. For The Aviator, the dialogue was very straightforward. But in The Departed, it was not, and with those actors! I mean, that's why you want them, but that doesn't make it easy. So Michael decided he wanted to do other things. That was very sad."

Sometimes you just have to give in to the system. Scorsese comfortably admits that he made at least two movies for calculated business reasons: The Color of Money, in 1986, and Cape Fear in 1991. The early '80s were difficult for Scorsese. "For a long time," says Schoonmaker, "our films were not recognized and did not make money--which was a serious problem." As much as critics now admire Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, and even The King of Comedy, none of those movies ignited the box office. The Last Temptation of Christ had been ginned up in 1983, but six weeks before production was to begin, the studio pulled the plug. Scorsese's follow-up to The King of Comedy was After Hours, a quirky comedy starring Griffin Dunne. The film was shot on budget and on time over 40 nights in SoHo and did fairly well as a low-budget film. But none of that mattered. "They saw me as outside Hollywood," Scorsese remembers. "'You're gone, you're in independent cinema now, on the outside from now on.'"

Enter The Color of Money. Paul Newman was interested in doing a sequel to The Hustler, the 1961 movie he had starred in with Jackie Gleason. Scorsese abhorred the idea of doing a sequel to anything but says he was intrigued by the character of Eddie Felson: "Again, it was a guy who took too many risks, overstepped the line, didn't understand his own self-destruction, and didn't catch on until it was too late." So he took the job, as a way of proving to Hollywood that he could make a box-office winner. "It was a calculated business move. I needed the new studio heads to think they could give me another chance, finance me again."

Color hit at the box office, and Paul Newman took home the Oscar for best actor. As a result, at least the way Scorsese tells the story, he won the right to finally make his passion project, The Last Temptation. But the tortured production drained Scorsese financially. "I was never interested in the accumulation of money, you know. And I never had a mind for business," he explains. "There have been serious issues with money over the years. I have a nice house now, in New York. But there have been major, major issues. In the mid-'80s it was pathetic, I mean, my father would help me out. I couldn't go out, I couldn't buy anything. But it's all my own doing."

Three confidants pushed him into Cape Fear: his agent, then-CAA chief Michael Ovitz, the best career counselor Scorsese ever had; De Niro, enthralled by the role of Max Cady, the psychotic criminal bent on revenge; and Spielberg. "We were down in Tribeca at dinner," Scorsese remembers, "and I said, 'Steven, I can't do this, I hate the script.' He said, 'Marty, if you did the picture, would the family live at the end?' I nodded yes. So he said, "If that's the case, do whatever you want up until that! And, oh, by the way, this guy over here? He's the scriptwriter. Wesley [Strick], meet Marty.'" He took the movie, with Strick as a willing participant. "We tried to push the genre as far as we could," Scorsese remembers. "We pushed it as good as we could. And I'll never forget the call I got from Ovitz after we'd done it. I pick up the phone and he says, 'Congratulations, Marty, you're solvent! Now don't go screw it up again.'"

In the editing room, in the waning weeks of a production, everything is on the line. The studio pushes harder than ever for the film to satisfy its box-office needs. Actors, through their agents, plead for more screen time. Colleagues have their own ideas, and then there's the despair of the director realizing all the mistakes he made during those precious, long-gone days of shooting. "This is when you see I ain't got certain scenes and I wish I had them," says Scorsese. "Maybe we didn't have the money. Maybe I didn't have time, but if I had chosen to shoot other things other ways, I would have had the time. Whatever--now it's too late. Let's say you make 25 or 30 decisions on a particular scene. If one or two big ones were off, they can ruin everything about that scene. And you only discover this in the editing room."

At this point, he says, everything is focused on one thing: "What does the film need, what does the scene need?" In every movie, whether a commercial play like The Color of Money or a passion project like The Age of Innocence, "there is an essence to the project that you must protect. You cannot make concessions on that, the story cannot be tampered with past that point; you have to fight off every power or force around you."

This is when Scorsese retreats to a long dialogue with his one constant collaborator, Schoonmaker, who has edited every film of his since Raging Bull. Unlike his other collaborators, Schoonmaker is not a child of the movies. Whereas Ferretti and Scorsese can go on and on about films they watched during their isolated childhoods, Schoonmaker grew up intending to be a diplomat and fell into editing after being chided in the early 1960s by State Department interviewers for her anti-apartheid views. Starting with their time together at New York University, she learned everything she knows about films from Scorsese, who also introduced her to her husband (Powell, the British director). "Thelma stays loyal to me, and to what I'm trying to do with the story, through everything. We'll say anything to each other in the editing room--anything," he says, smiling as he raises those famous eyebrows. "What can be done? What shouldn't be done? If the studio is saying this, maybe what they really mean is this. There are so many issues, it can get very tricky, very political. She'll see me getting tired and giving in, let's say, to someone who has my ear and is very influential, to someone who uses threats. There are a lot of those more and more now, and she will say, 'Be careful, because this is going to harm the whole thing, the whole project.' She gets me back on track if I'm going off."

"Marty knows Hollywood very well," says Schoonmaker, "and he handles them brilliantly. I could never do it. I've heard them say things in meetings--once someone said, 'Why don't you take Gone With the Wind and apply it to this movie?' I swear to God! I would walk out, but he just takes it in stride. His neighborhood prepared him for dealing with Hollywood. And he will fight to the death for a film not to be ruined."

"Thelma and I," says Scorsese, "we think alike in terms of culture and politics. The resistance is always there, that '60s thing we grew up with. Not hippies or anything! I'm not a hippie, not that I had anything against them. We have a way, we can tell when something smells too much of being a part of the process, and we don't want to get too close to that. Sometimes you wake up and you've gone there. But then you move on, watch that the next time you're more careful."

Here's a little list of the side jobs that Martin Scorsese, who turned 69 this November 17, has been involved in over the past two years.
1) A Letter to Elia, a doc he directed about film director Elia Kazan.
2) Public Speaking, a doc he directed about writer Fran Lebowitz.
3) Boardwalk Empire, HBO's epic gangster series set in Atlantic City. He directed the first episode and now executive-produces.
4) Living in the Material World, the George Harrison doc he directed.
5) Surviving Progress, a doc he produced, based on the book A Short History of Progress.
6) La Tercera Orilla, a 2012 film directed by Argentine director Celina Murga, who was paired with Scorsese in the Rolex Mentor and Protege Arts Initiative. He will executive-produce her movie.
7) A new Terence Winter project for HBO about a drug-fueled movie exec in 1970s New York; Scorsese will direct the first episode and executive-produce the series (with Mick Jagger).
8 ) The Film Foundation, which has restored more than 550 old movies and basically salvaged the silent-film era. Scorsese is the founder and chairman--and is personally involved in the restoration of 10 films this fall, including four silents directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

There are two reasonable responses to this kind of list:
1) You should be doing more with whatever creative gift you have.
2) As Tim Van Patten, an executive producer and director of Boardwalk Empire, says: "I don't know how he does it. He's always juggling. I have enough trouble doing this one job and having a life."

This work on the side, especially the music documentaries, has become increasingly vital for Scorsese. "There was a point with The Departed where I was ready to throw in the towel. I wanted to make the movie I thought the script was about, and I thought the studio wanted something else. I figured, Jeez, at this point in my career, I just want to make films where, granted I'll stay within budget, but I just wanna make the movie I wanna make. You're gonna come to me, especially on a project like this, my home turf sort of, and then you're asking for these actors and this kind of movie? I thought this might be the end, just let me out of here and I'm going to shoot the Rolling Stones on stage, that's it."

He did wind up making The Departed, as you may have heard. But since then, besides shooting the Rolling Stones in their most visceral stage performance in decades (Shine a Light), he also directed a great Bob Dylan doc (No Direction Home) and the George Harrison feature. These films are made on a much smaller budget than, say, Shutter Island or Hugo. But with less money comes more freedom. "When I get frustrated with the commercial playing field of feature films, I go to these movies. I have had the need, more and more, to explore the spiritual or religious. Elements of that find their way into my music films. Music is for me the purest art form. There's a transcendent power to it, to all kinds, to rock 'n' roll. It takes you to another world, you feel it in your body, you feel a change come over you and a desire to live," he says, laughing at his enthusiasm. "That's transcendence." And a far cry from the mundane battles with Hollywood. "The Stones," he says, "working the stage like that at their age, strong and visceral, pure movement and sound and images. That's strong and powerful and defiant."

For a filmmaker so conscious of the history of his art, it's hardly surprising that Scorsese is a generous mentor. As Van Patten and Winter were setting up Boardwalk Empire, Scorsese regularly invited them to his offices for screenings. "He's this legend and all that," says Van Patten, "but you get past that instantly because Marty's such a regular guy. Whenever you're with him it's an education. He started us out by meeting once a week, for a double feature or a single movie. He never puts down a film. He'll find something positive about everything. We were watching this one movie called Pete Kelly's Blues [directed by Jack Webb, star of the '60s cop series Dragnet]. After, Marty says, 'Well, this is not Jack Webb's best work,' and I'm thinking, Jack Webb? Really? Does Jack Webb even have best work?' But that's the way he is."

"At this point," says Scorsese, "I find that the excitement of a young student or filmmaker can get me excited again. I like showing them things and seeing how their minds open up, seeing the way their response then gets expressed in their own work." Hugo itself is something of a lesson in film history for kids, with its plot centered around Melies, whose work, which Scorsese has helped restore, is featured in the movie in a run of strange and wild clips.

His biggest teaching project these days is his 12-year-old daughter, Francesca. He's trying to give her a cultural foundation that seems less readily available these days. "I'm concerned about a culture where everything is immediate and then discarded," he says. "I'm exposing her to stuff like musicals and Ray Harryhausen spectaculars, Frank Capra films. I just read her a children's version of The Iliad. I wanted her to know where it all comes from. Every story, I told her, every story is in here, The Iliad."

"Three months ago," he remembers, gesturing to the room around us, "I had a screening here for the family. Francesca had responded to Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, and to Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, so I decided to try It Happened One Night. I had kind of dismissed the film, which some critics love, of course, but then I realized I had only seen it on a small screen, on television. So I got a 35-millimeter print in here, and we screened it. And I discovered it was a masterpiece. The way Colbert and Gable move, their body language. It's really quite remarkable!"



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Reply #34 on: November 23, 2011, 02:48:46 AM
Thank you for posting this!

this is good news

Scorsese is well on his way toward funding his next project, Silence--an adaptation of a book about 17th-century missionaries.

this sounds cool

7) A new Terence Winter project for HBO about a drug-fueled movie exec in 1970s New York; Scorsese will direct the first episode and executive-produce the series (with Mick Jagger).

and I was wondering what happened to this girl

6) La Tercera Orilla, a 2012 film directed by Argentine director Celina Murga, who was paired with Scorsese in the Rolex Mentor and Protege Arts Initiative. He will executive-produce her movie.


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Reply #35 on: November 25, 2011, 11:25:50 AM
This movie is sooooo good! I hated the trailers, hated the title change and was generally wary of the entire venture, but it's just great. I saw it in 2D, and it looked absolutely stunning. I can't imagine it looking better in 3D, but I'll probably go see it again in that format just to compare. It was almost 100% true to the book, with just a little bit more added for Sasha Baron Coen to do. I really really loved it.


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Reply #36 on: November 25, 2011, 11:35:07 AM
cool! I wasn't sure how to feel about it either, but I really want to see it now after reading Ebert's review

Definitely gotta make it to the theater for this.

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Reply #37 on: November 29, 2011, 12:56:13 PM
I'm really surprised more people aren't talking about this one yet.  I, too, was highly skeptical going in; everything I'd seen from it was awful (that clip with Sacha Baron Cohen chasing the kid... the music (which thankfully is nowhere in the movie), the promotional campaign, etc.).  However, my fears were dashed almost immediately.  I saw it in 3D, and I can't recommend it enough.  The opening shot is completely engrossing and engulfing.  I'm not much for 3D on the whole, but this was an incredible experience, and easily the best 3D film I've seen.  It wasn't that the movie was tacky, throwing in stuff to pop out of the screen, but it felt like Scorsese's camera work (which still feels very much like his stuff) has the 3D view in mind, and it frames things and moves around in ways that cater to the audience's perspective.  All in all, though, it's just a really amazing movie.  I haven't really loved a Scorsese movie in years, but I'm excited to see this one again.  One of the best of the year, for sure.


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Reply #38 on: November 29, 2011, 09:33:43 PM
The 3D is really good in this because of the smoke and dust and snow and environmental texture such as that to give a 3D sense of the world, rather than just have things pop out at you. So it doesn't look like a pop-up book.

I really liked this movie. It's really sweet and beautiful and all the George Melies stuff is really touching. Lots of great faces in the movie, and this version of Paris is so dreamy.


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Reply #39 on: November 29, 2011, 10:04:49 PM
I guess you shouldn't judge a movie by its trailer but gaaaaaaaaawd... have some decency. To see a 96% rating on a movie with less than a quarter of that percentage given to its trailer quality is disturbing.

I certainly want to see it now though.


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Reply #40 on: November 30, 2011, 09:22:15 AM
The one thing that really makes me want to see this is remembering back to movies set in the period that I watched as a kid, things like "Oliver" or basically any period film starring a rebellious kiddo.
those were things that didn't offend my parents and brought a sort of purity out of the woodwork.

I know this is being brought to us as a Kids' movie, which may be misleading and, in my experience, alienating to a larger audience base.  But I do hope that kids end up liking this movie.

Personally, I look very forward to seeing it.  Knowing it's based on a book give me comfort that it's not just going to be only for cineastes but for those who like a good story.


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Reply #41 on: November 30, 2011, 10:43:11 PM
When I was in college I rented this Melies DVD set from the library and was utterly enchanted. He achieved amazing effects with the most primitive film technology. Trip to the Moon was from 1902! The trailer for Hugo didn't look very good, but I can't wait to see it now that I've heard great things about it.


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Reply #42 on: December 01, 2011, 12:45:23 AM
Yeah, really, everyone, forget the trailer. It has nothing to do with the way the movie actually is.

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Reply #43 on: December 01, 2011, 02:13:51 AM
this made me want to rewatch martin scorsese's a personal journey through american movies. hugo is a gushing love letter to cinema, especially the early years. genuinely moving in it's sincere appreciation of filmmaking. this is scorsese at his warmest and it's a joy to watch.


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Reply #44 on: December 02, 2011, 01:46:29 AM
I saw this tonight and I can't really find the words to explain this but I'll try.

The 3D is definitely better than anything I have seen in 3D(avatar and the new hp are really my only other comparisons ).

Let me preface this with saying I know nothing about Melies.

I almost erupted in tears of joy at least five times during this film.  We see a positivist view of film that is so god damn endearing it will make you explode with the same joy you had when first got into cinema.

The best thing about the movie is that film is a mere background element to the over all encouragement or romanticism in the movie. Since Hugo is not involved or familiar with that world (the world of film making/hollywood) his dreams are not compromised, whatever they may be.  Hugo still sees and believes in the magic of the act of entertaining someone for a while, or transporting someone to a new environment and taking them for a ride.  Magic is the term here.  And we're not talking about the debate of illusionist VS. Magicians. We are talking about focus. We are talking about attention.  

The types of dreams that capture your attention span.  The type of magic that simply blows your mind and makes you believe in something pure since it takes your mind off of cynical doubt. It makes you see that a grand narrative doesn't require an absolute Truth or view of the universe, or of truth itself, it simply requires searching for the joy in what you love. Finding your place amongst the peers who love the things you love while also understanding that through that experience there is always a time where one can come face to face with the opposing view that mint suggest you don't matter or you can't make a difference.  

This movie says fuck those people. This movie says those people are out to ruin everything they can.  This movie also shows that some people who were once brilliant creators can also get caught up in the doubt, the criticism and the cynicism that people eventually conjure up. It gets conjured up for great reason, but this movie shows that all that shit after the fact doesn't hold as much magic and beauty as what gets conjured up. IMO

So what I'm trying to say is if I ever have children they will see this film and 'the red balloon' on repeat throughout their adolescence.
it's not the wrench, it's the plumber.