Watch Martin Scorsese Talk About the History of Cinema for 60 Minutes

Watch Martin Scorsese Talk About the History of Cinema for 60 Minutes

Apr 04, 2013

Martin ScorseseWe love Martin Scorsese to death – and we could listen to the man talk about cinema for hours on end. Scorsese’s passion for the artform is palpable when he speaks, yet unlike so many beginning film studies professors, Scorsese makes even the historical evolution of the medium fascinating. As proof, we offer you this presentation from the Raging Bull filmmaker from the 2013 Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities, presented by Scorsese himself back on April 1 at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Scorsese’s discussion, entitled “Persistence of Vision: Reading the Language of Cinema," is an hour-long breakdown of the history and magic of movies as only the filmmaker can present it. The speech contains not only historical facts about the evolution of cinema as an artform (including the observation that it really doesn’t matter who started cinema – because “all beginnings are unfathomable”), but also some very personal observations from Scorsese’s own life revealing how his love for the movies blossomed from early childhood.

The multimedia presentation is as interesting as one would expect, with Scorsese working in still images and scenes from films to help make his points. The opening features a sequence from 1950’s The Magic Box that seems perfectly fitted to the topic at hand.

It’s not all history, though – Scorsese gets technical too, showing how image restoration works to make less-than-pristine prints of movies look new again while explaining things like auteur theory. It’s like a master class in cinema – and it’ll only take up an hour of your time!

Check out the video here. If you’re a fan of Scorsese or just interested in the evolution of one of the world’s greatest artforms, this is essential viewing. Oh, and if you want to skip the preamble, Scorsese’s actual presentation starts at around the 23-minute mark.

[via National Endowment for the Humanities, @EmmaFGreen]

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