Robert de Niro’s blood-soaked shirt from “Taxi Driver” and an ax wielded by Leonardo DiCaprio as Amsterdam are among the highlights in a show of Martin Scorsese’s personal archive opening today in Berlin.
At the Film and Television Museum, Scorsese is giving Berliners the first public peek into his private archive. It includes a storyboard he produced age 11 (a desert adventure brought to you from “Marsco Productions”) and the yellow gown Cate Blanchett donned as Katharine Hepburn in “The Aviator.”
Scorsese, 70, couldn’t attend the exhibition opening because he is still in post-production on his latest film, “The Wolf of Wall Street,” starring DiCaprio. Hurricane Sandy held up the production as well as hindering the shipping of some of the exhibits, the curators said.
“Some of the objects you’ll see have been literally taken off the walls of my house and my office,” Scorsese said in a video message shown at the opening. “I must have given permission for quite a lot of things to go, because I keep missing things in my house.”
The Oscar-winning director understandably refused to show private letters. The show is above all a chronicle of a career, with interesting, though largely known, biographical tidbits about his upbringing in New York’s Little Italy.
Scorsese suffered from asthma and was a sickly child. His older brother by six years, Frank, regularly took him to the cinema and took care of him. His mother Catherine Scorsese embodied the Italian Mamma in several of his earlier movies and his father also took small roles.
Fanatically detailed storyboards and carefully annotated scripts show how this director leaves little to chance. Those he works with are similarly perfectionist. De Niro’s taxi-driver license is shown in a glass box: He played a cabbie, so as a method actor he had to become one too.
Scorsese is also a hoarder of film posters and memorabilia himself. A poster signed by the Simpsons’ creator Matt Groening honors “Bart Simpson’s favorite director.”
Among the more surprising and touching exhibits are the red shoes from Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s film based on the fairytale by Hans Christian Andersen. I wouldn’t have had Scorsese down as a balletomane.
He is definitely a music fan, as testified by his box of vinyl singles, all immaculately indexed, and by his documentaries such as “Shine a Light” about the Rolling Stones and movies on Bob Dylan and George Harrison.
In the late 1970s, Scorsese campaigned to Eastman Kodak Co. for improvements in the sustainability of color film. He wrote to colleagues asking for their support: The responses of Sidney Lumet, Andrzej Wajda and others are displayed.
“Would you be surprised if I told you that after only five years the blue is leaving the water of ‘Jaws,’ while the blood spurting from Robert Shaw’s mouth gets redder and redder?” wrote director Steven Spielberg.
“Martin Scorsese” is showing at the Deutsche Kinemathek Museum fuer Film und Fernsehen through May 12. For more information, go to http://www.deutsche-kinemathek.de/en
The Arsenal Cinema in the basement of the museum building is showing a retrospective of Scorsese’s films through Jan. 15. For the program, http://www.arsenal-berlin.de
(Catherine Hickley writes for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are her own.)
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