It’s easy to find documentaries or interviews with Martin Scorsese (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Goodfellas, The Departed) talking about film with absolute honesty and passion. I just watched an episode of American Masters about Elia Kazan (A Streetcar Named Desire, On the Waterfront, East of Eden). The show was hosted by Scorsese and I was reminded of how much I love listening to him, but it almost hurts sometimes.
His respect and dedication to film is like a weight. I’m racked by it, a guilt for not dedicating myself to these things like I should. I feel like I’m doing wrong by sitting there listening. Why aren’t I creating these things? Why aren’t I frantically working right now? Why aren’t I giving my time even to fail at creating something like the work he discusses?
A megachurch and a megatheater.
Scorsese often compares film to church. He says that as a child he found refuge in the cathedral and the cinema. He considered the priesthood before becoming a filmmaker. That’s the kind of reality he puts into his words. A religious love and reverence for an art form.
Martin Scorsese as Vincent Van Gogh in Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams. Van Gogh’s monologue around the middle of this clip sums things up.
Good sermons, documentary TV shows, movies, or anything else, even games, are made from the same stuff. Absolute respect. An indefensible faith in one’s purpose. And the purpose is the work, the action of it.
-Christopher J. Rock