Σκηνοθέτης: Μάρτιν Σκορτσέζε
Στούντιο: United Artists
Ηθοποιοί: Λίζα Μινέλι, Ρόμπερτ ντε ΝίροΈνας ταλαντούχος σαξοφωνίστας και μια εξίσου ταλαντούχα τραγουδίστρια συναντιούνται στη Νέα Υόρκη του 1945, τη βραδιά που η Αμερική γιορτάζει την ήττα του ιαπωνικού στρατού. Ξεκινούν κοινή καριέρα σε μεγάλη ορχήστρα και στην πορεία παντρεύονται. Η σχέση τους αρχίζει να καταρρέει, όταν εκείνη μένει έγκυος και δέχεται προτάσεις για σόλο τραγούδι.
Scorsese’s movie is a big, self-conscious, experimental movie masquerading as a musical. Rather, it is a big, self-conscious, experimental movie that takes as its subject the structure, the mythology, the experience of the Hollywood musical. More importantly, it replaces the familiar romantic melodrama usually found at the center of such a film with a scenario that resembles what A Star is Born might have felt like had been directed by John Cassavetes. Liza Minnelli looks every bit the brassy, good-natured, ambitious swing band chanteuse as Francine Evans, in what would be her last effective lead performance on the big screen. Paul rightly describes her quality as equal parts tremulous and brassy—often Minnelli seems like she’s going to start vibrating like a gong, either out of sheer performance joy or uncontrollable spasms of nervous exhaustion. She’s used by Scorsese as much for her lineage (her mother, Judy Garland, was often the star in the lush, fiercely emotional musicals her father, Vincente Minnelli, directed for MGM) as for her near iconic visual appropriateness and crackling timing as an actress. And she takes to the sumptuous, pleasurably overscaled production and costume design as if it were her own private dress-up world, one in which she maintains the contrast between the delights of the music of the era and the brutal emotional abuse of her relationship with up-and-coming saxophone player Jimmy Doyle. Robert De Niro plays Doyle, who zeroes in on Francine during a VJ Day celebration and pathologically refuses to quit hitting on her, as Travis Bickle with a bad Hawaiian shirt, a discernible talent and a narrow-minded pursuit of musical integrity. At first De Niro’s approach to the character plays as if he was never consciously able to shake the specter of Bickle, and the choice (and it was a choice) seems like a mistake. The long shadow of Bickle’s present-day paranoia seems initially inappropriate for a brazenly artificial take on the emotional core of the Hollywood musical.
But it’s the contrast between Minnelli’s swing-era perfection, De Niro’s up-front and anachronistic (for the Hollywood genre) psychological instability, and Scorsese’s no-fear examination of what happens when the artifice of a musical world clashes with a warts-and-all character study of two ambitious characters for whom performance is the only way they can adequately feel connected to the “real” world, that allows the movie’s themes, and even its occasional dissonant notes and inconsistencies of tone and pace, to coalesce into a living, breathing personal statement. For Paul (and certainly not just for him), this constitutes one of the film’s major drawbacks. He writes that New York, New York is “a movie that feels at war with itself, in which the musical numbers and the dialogue scenes don’t mesh well”. But it seems to me that this war is, in fact, the subject of the film, the reason Scorsese wanted to make it. That very incompatibility is what fascinates Scorsese– how these two strains of Hollywood artifice (and yes, Cassavetes’ emotional dramas spun their own kind of artifice) might possibly co-exist. After all, they certainly co-exist in his encyclopedic mind as a cinephile, so what might be wrong with making a movie that acknowledges, in its look, its feel in the very way it gathers momentum and dissipates it between sequences, the attempt to connect these two seemingly irreconcilable approaches to film drama? Even the title of the film reflects the dual sensibilities at work in envisioning a post-war New York City as a place of nostalgic reverie and bitter, uncomfortable emotional truth. (It is astounding too, as Paul notes, that the title tune, so tightly associated with everyone from Frank Sinatra and Minnelli to George Steinbrenner, was not an authentic standard unearthed from some vault and polished up, rights all paid for, but was instead penned for the movie by John Kander and Fred Ebb.)
All of this might, to some ears, seem like I’m coming awfully close to saying that it’s what’s bad and dissonant and rough about New York, New York, the elements where glossy genre cannot, in the end, compliment or illuminate the gritty examination of the grinding gears of ambition and love, that makes it a fine movie. Not quite. There are indications, even in its much-preferable extended version, clear indicators that the movie has chunks still missing– the strand involving Mary Kay Place as the talentless singer who replaces Francine in Jimmy’s band is underdeveloped and left to dangle, and even Francine’s rise to stardom in the aftermath of the birth of her son, the both of them abandoned by Jimmy in a devastating, wordless hospital scene— seems truncated, unsatisfying and, most damningly, unconvincing. But the movie, I think, minimizes those moments where the Method imbalances the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer through the sheer force of the conviction of the actors at its heart. It wasn’t long after this movie that De Niro began doing “De Niro,” but here there is still enough of a connection to Bickle and the young Vito, and 1900, and, most importantly, the bottle-rocket unpredictability of Johnny Boy from Mean Streets, to convince us that De Niro had not yet begun to fool around.
And Minnelli, only a year or so away from parody, and self-parody, seems so in her element here that it’s scary, and I mean that as a compliment. She’s frighteningly good and would never again have a role that allowed her to so fruitfully channel the warring elements in her own personality—the illusion of the shining Hollywood star tempered by the knowledge of the pressure, addiction and even madness that stardom can bring—into such rich thematic resonance. She anchors the splendidly bitter and self-referential “Happy Endings” sequence, famously restored from the 1977 theatrical release, which brings the movie brilliantly full circle to a point where kitchen-sink dramaturgy and delirious musical fantasy don’t seem so far removed from each other after all. New York, New York (shot by the late, brilliant cinematographer Laszlo Kovacs) is a gorgeous, daring movie that soars on conflicting styles masterfully choreographed by a director in love not with genre, or the integrity of improvised acting truth, but with the power at the heart of movies. It soars as much on what it says about what we, the audience, see and process within seemingly polarized film styles as it does on the melodrama and emotion woven delicately, and indelicately, into the music that courses through its lush, tension-filled visual design and its glorious soundtrack. New York, New York is about Hollywood reality, and how Hollywood reality can be about life.
Το τραγουδι New York, New York απο την Liza Minnelli
Το τραγουδι New York, New York απο τον Frank Sinatra
Φιλμογραφια του Μαρτιν Σκορτσέζε.
Το 1976 ο Σκορτσέζε σκηνοθετεί τον «Ταξιτζή», μία από τις ταινίες που άφησαν εποχή στον παγκόσμιο κινηματογράφο, όχι μόνο εξαιτίας της θαυμάσιας σκηνοθεσίας της, αλλά και της συγκλονιστικής ερμηνείας του Ρόμπερτ Ντε Νίρο, ερμηνεία που σήμερα διδάσκεται στις δραματικές σχολές. Η ταινία επανέρχεται στο προσκήνιο πέντε χρόνια μετά, όταν ο Τζον Χίκλει, κατηγορούμενος για την απόπειρα δολοφονίας κατά του προέδρου των ΗΠΑ, δήλωσε ότι επηρεάστηκε από ένα χαρακτήρα της ταινίας ο οποίος επιχείρησε αντίστοιχη απόπειρα εναντίον ενός γερουσιαστή. Ο «Ταξιτζής» κέρδισε το Χρυσό Φοίνικα στο Φεστιβάλ των Καννών το 1976, ενώ προτάθηκε για τέσσερις ακόμη διακρίσεις στα Όσκαρ, χωρίς ωστόσο να κερδίσει κάποιο.Η επιτυχία του «Ταξιτζή» δίνει θάρρος στον Σκορτσέζε να γυρίσει την πρώτη του ταινία μεγάλου προϋπολογισμού, το μιούζικαλ «New York, New York», σηματοδοτώντας την τρίτη του συνεργασία με τον Ρόμπερτ Ντε Νίρο.
Ταινίες που σκηνοθέτησε ο Μαρτιν Σκορτσέζε.
– 1967: The Big Shave
– 1967: Who’s That Knocking at My Door
– 1970: Street Scenes
– 1976: Taxi Driver
– 1977: New York, New York
– 1978: The Last Waltz
– 1980: Raging Bull
– 1983: The King of Comedy
– 1985: After Hours
– 1986: The Color of Money
– 1988: The Last Temptation of Christ
– 1989: New York Stories
– 1990: Goodfellas
– 1995: Casino
– 1995: A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies
– 1997: Kundun
– 1999: My Voyage to Italy
– 1999: Bringing Out the Dead
– 2002: Gangs of New York
– 2004: The Aviator
– 2005: No Direction Home: Bob Dylan
– 2006: The Departed
– 2007: Shine a Light
– 2008: Silence