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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride

Martin Scorsese’s LETTER TO ELIA

Watch the full episode.

From an interview on the American Experience website:

Martin Scorsese: We were going to do interviews. And then it seemed like the right idea to go in a different direction.

Kent Jones: There’s a very good film to be made about Kazan as a person, as the man who started with the Group Theatre, who acted in Waiting for Lefty, who went on to revolutionize Broadway, then started the Actors’ Studio, then became a friendly witness before HUAC and suffered the consequences, then made a string of great films, changed the face of acting in theater and movies, suffered through the trauma of his first wife’s death, reinvented himself as a writer, and so on. It would be a real epic. But that felt like someone else’s idea.

Scorsese: The thing was to convey something about the relationship, and by that I mean my relationship to the films, and that meant going back to the way that I received them when I saw them as an adolescent.

Jones: And the distinction between your relationship with the films and your relationship with the man, and the way you saw the films when you were young and the way you see them now.

Scorsese: Right.

Jones: I thought that was really interesting, because it doesn’t have anything to do with film aesthetics or official history. Actually, in a sense, it does – it’s the way you receive films when you’re young and wide open to them.

Scorsese: Yes. You don’t know how it’s done or why, you just know that the picture is speaking to you and addressing something that can’t be addressed in your life, by anyone you know, because it’s private, embarrassing. You’re young and figuring out who you are in relation to everyone around you, the adult world around you, but you’re not on the adult wavelength yet.

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