Sunday, September 8, 2019

Taxi Driver (USA: Martin Scorsese, 1976)

In a climactic sequence, desaturated in Metrocolor printing as one way of avoiding an X rating for the film, the madman exorcises himself. It’s a brutal, horrendous and cinematically brilliant sequence, capped by the irony that he becomes a media hero for a day, and, passions subdued, resumes his average-Joe life among us. But for how long, we don’t know.

De Niro gives the role the precise blend of awkwardness, naivete and latent violence which makes Travis a character who is compelling even when he is at his most revolting. It is a smash performance. Every other player fits perfectly into this psychotic puzzle.
- A.D. Murphy, Variety (February 3, 1976)

Taxi Driver (USA: Martin Scorsese, 1976: 113 mins)

Bradley, S.A. and J. Blake Fichera. "Sympathetic Monsters." Hellbent for Horror #43 (June 6, 2017) ["Can you sympathize with a monster?  In some cases I think you can. It depends on the story and how well the story is told and acted. ... George Romero, Fritz Lang, Martin Scorsese, Joe Spinell, Michael Powell, and Patty Jenkins all presented monsters who were more than simply killers. While we don’t condone the actions of the characters in these films, these killers display complex psyches that are worth discussing.  We tackle some old and newer films to talk about, among other things, how people empathized with Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver, and how Peeping Tom possibly destroyed Michael Powell’s career because the critics and audiences related to the main character... a little too much."]

Carvajal, Nelson and Max Winter. "Video Essay: Women in the Works of Martin Scorsese." Press Play (February 7, 2014)

Clark, Ashley, Violet Lucca and Amy Taubin. "Identity." Film Comment (January 17, 2017) ["Ideology and aesthetics have somehow come to be positioned opposite one another—in film criticism, should one be privileged over the other? This episode of The Film Comment Podcast discusses how race, ethnicity, and other markers of identity factor into film criticism and cinema generally. FC Digital Editor Violet Lucca unpacks the topic with Amy Taubin, Contributing Editor to FC and Artforum, and Ashley Clark, FC contributor and programmer, in a conversation that spans multiple decades of film history—from Taxi Driver to OJ: Made in America to Notting Hill to I Am Not Your Negro, to the canceled Michael Jackson episode of Urban Myths starring Joseph Fiennes."]

D'Anna, Becky, James Hancock and Kevin Maher. "Albert Brooks and the Genius of an Open-Faced Sandwich." Wrong Reel #308 (August 2017) 

Ebert, Roger. "Interview with Martin Scorsese." (march 7, 1976)

Fitch, Alex, Neil Fox and Dario Linares. "Taxi Driver." The Cinematologists #45 (May 9, 2017) ["Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver, scripted by Paul Schrader, has become a touchstone depiction of the alienated American experience post-Vietnam centered around a scintillating performance by Robert De Niro. Dario is joined by guest presenter Alex Fitch as they discuss the film's legacy, Scorsese as a director and all the other elements that give the film its classic status. And Neil and Dario expand on may of the key themes that permeate the work of arguably the greatest living American filmmaker."]

Hamilton, John R. "Paul Schrader." Senses of Cinema #56 (2010)

Hynes, Eric, et al. "New York, New York." Reverse Shot (June 15, 2011) ["Check out Reverse Shot's inaugural foray into video film criticism and the failure of video film criticism. We look at Taxi Driver, Hannah and Her Sisters, and their varying visions of New York."]

Iannucci, Matthew J. "Postmodern Antihero: Capitalism and Heroism in Taxi Driver." Bright Lights Film Journal #47 (February 2007)

"The Importance of Depth of Frame." imgur (September 2013)

Insdorf, Annette. Cinematic Overtures: How to Read Opening Scenes. Columbia University Press, 2017. ["Your professor has a copy of this book."]

 Juan, Eric San. "The Films of Martin Scorsese: Gangsters, Greed, and Guilt (ROWMAN AND LITTLEFIELD 2020)." New Books in Film (October 20, 2020) ["Few mainstream filmmakers have as pronounced a disregard for the supposed rules of filmmaking as Martin Scorsese. His inventiveness displays a reaction against the “right” way to make a movie, frequently eschewing traditional cinematic language in favor of something flashy, unexpected and contrary to the way “proper” films are done. Yet despite this, he’s become one of the most influential directors of the last fifty years, a critical darling (though rarely a box office titan), and a fan favorite. In this book, Eric San Juan guides readers through the crooks, the mobsters, the loners, the moguls, and the nobodies of Scorsese's 26-movie filmography. The Films of Martin Scorsese: Gangsters, Greed, and Guilt (Rowman and Littlefield, 2020) examines the techniques that have made him one of the most innovative directors in history. The book further looks at the themes that are the engine driving all of this, including themes of self-sabotage, alienation, faith, and guilt. Eric San Juan has written a number of books, including one on Akira Kurosawa and co-authored two books on the films of Alfred Hitchcock."]

Koresky, Michael and Jeff Reichert. "Martin Scorsese: He Is Cinema." Reverse Shot (September 17, 2014)

Koski, Genevieve, et al. "First Reformed / Taxi Driver (Part 1)." The Next Picture Show #132 (June 12, 2018) ["Paul Schrader’s excellent, difficult new film FIRST REFORMED inspires us to travel back to Schrader’s first screenwriting collaboration with Martin Scorsese and grapple with TAXI DRIVER, to see how Schrader’s vision of “God’s Lonely Man” first graced movie screens. In this first half focusing on TAXI DRIVER, we discuss the techniques Scorsese uses to force us into Travis Bickle’s sick mind, and consider what effect that approach has had on the reception and legacy of this “dangerous” film."]

---. "First Reformed / Taxi Driver (Part 2)." The Next Picture Show #133 (June 14, 2018) ["Our examination of Paul Schrader’s fixation with “God’s Lonely Man” continues with the critic-turned-screenwriter-turned-director’s 20th film, the searing and excellent FIRST REFORMED, which shares more in common with the Schrader-scripted TAXI DRIVER than just a lonely male protagonist. After examining our reactions to FIRST REFORMED — including its bold ending — we look at how these two films make use of their female characters and the idea of the male savior, what they have to say about societal values and decline, and their conspicuous use of voiceover."]

"A Life in Pictures: Martin Scorsese." BAFTA (April 6, 2011)

Newland, Christina Marie. "Satirical Excess and Empty Vessels: Martin Scorsese's The King of Comedy." Bright Lights Film Journal #80 (May 2013)

Raymond, Marc. "Great Directors: Martin Scorsese." Senses of Cinema (May 2002)

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