Martin Charles Scorsese (born November 17, 1942) is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, actor, and film historian. In 1990 he founded The Film Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to film preservation, and in 2007 he founded the World Cinema Foundation. He is a recipient of the AFI Life Achievement Award for his contributions to the cinema, and has won Oscars, Emmys, Golden Globes, BAFTAs, and DGA Awards.
Scorsese's body of work addresses such themes as Italian American identity, Roman Catholic concepts of guilt and redemption, machismo, modern crime and violence. Scorsese is hailed as one of the most significant and influential American filmmakers of all time, directing landmark films such as Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, and Goodfellas all of which he collaborated on with actor and close friend Robert De Niro. He won the Academy Award for Best Director for The Departed, having been nominated a previous five times. Martin Scorsese grew up in New York City. His father, Charles Scorsese (1913-1993), and mother, Catherine Scorsese (born Cappa; 1912-97), both worked in New York's Garment District. His father was a clothes presser and an actor, and his mother was a seamstress and an actress. His father's parents emigrated from Polizzi Generosa, in the province of Palermo, Sicily, and his mother was also of Italian descent. Scorsese was raised in a devoutly Catholic environment. As a boy, he had asthma and couldn't play sports or do any activities with other kids and so his parents and his older brother would often take him to movie theaters; it was at this stage in his life that he developed passion for cinema. Enamored of historical epics in his adolescence, at least two films of the genre, Land of the Pharaohs and El Cid, appear to have had a deep and lasting impact on his cinematic psyche. Scorsese also developed an admiration for neorealist cinema at this time. He recounted its influence in a documentary on Italian neorealism, and commented on how Bicycle Thieves alongside Pais, Rome, Open City inspired him and how this influenced his view or portrayal of his Sicilian genes. In his documentary, Il Mio Viaggio in Italia, Scorsese noted that the Sicilian episode of Roberto Rossellini's Pais which he first saw on television alongside his relatives, who were themselves Sicilian immigrants, made a significant impact on his life. He acknowledges owing a great debt to the French New Wave and has stated that "the French New Wave has influenced all filmmakers who have worked since, whether they saw the films or not." He has also cited filmmakers like Satyajit Ray, Ingmar Bergman, Michelangelo Antonioni, Federico Fellini as a major influence on his career. His initial desire to become a priest while attending Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx gave way to cinema, and, consequently, Scorsese enrolled in NYU's University College of Arts and Science, (now known as the College of Arts and Science), where he earned a B.A. in English in 1964. He went on to earn his M.F.A. from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts in 1966, a year after the school was founded.
January 21st, 2011
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