Does Martin Scorsese’s films celebrate ‘vile living’ too much?

October 5, 2023

Martin Scorsese. The man, the myth, the light and the life, the man who has given face and shown us the shadow of the 20th century rags to riches American dream, who has embodied the Italo-American identity in the US, the man who tells the tale of the man who is seduced by the vices of life. The man who has been able to portray God as if he were best mate of man, the man who has given us the man Robert de Niro again and again and again, the man who makes two peni – which is my new way of saying the plural of penis – two peni talking to each other till eternity -fighting, screaming, stabbing hitting each other- that’s his thing.

Scorsese is a phenomenal filmmaker who is particularly good at telling one story which the one of the self-absorbed, Jesus-complex, money-driven man, and often times a pedophile suffocating from his own greatness. Many of his films are a slight variation of this tale taking place on a different New York street corner. Whether these men are gangsters, bankers, boxers or drivers, or a combination of these professions, the men, often also played by the same three people, show the danger of what may happen if you as a man completely give in to the temptations of the greatest manifestations of manhood.

Even though he tells the same story over and over again, he is quite genius at it. I don’t like them as much as I did before, as this particular story is becoming longer and longer and the men are becoming older and the action slower so I’ve slightly lost interest. However, I often go back to his older films. My personal favourite is the King of Comedy, a 1982 film with yes, Robert de Niro playing a delusional self-obsessed clown in New York, but the character has a sweet tenderness that you can really fall in love with. Now I think with these films, my personal aversion is not the peni, because Scorsese actually does a really great job in creating these characters, but it is more so that Scorsese feeds into a desire of his audience who have fallen in love with the lifestyle of this characters, and therefore I feel as if his films are wrongfully celebrated, as his critique on the lifestyles that his characters live are not always as clear. Too many of his films remain a celebration of vile living.

Anyways, alongside making peni films Scorsese is a true hero for founding the Film Foundation, a non-profit organisation dedicated to the film preservation and exhibition of restored and classic cinema. I have discovered so much beauty thanks to his initiative. Maybe I just don’t enjoy listening to peni talking for a long time.

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