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in Filmmaking
on Nov 6, 2008

Roger Ebert has published on his blog a letter from Jamie Stuart about Martin Scorsese and Stuart’s ambivalence towards him.

An excerpt:

As well, I tended to prefer filmmakers whom I believed had solved the problems laid out for themselves in making their movies. There was always an unmistakable confidence of execution in the work of Coppola or Spielberg or later the Coens. With Scorsese, however, I always saw insecurity: For all their labor, his movies felt fussy like they were never quite finished. You could see the agonizing conflict of decision-making in his craft (something that many people claim as evidence of his effort). I used to remark when I was young that I could still see the grease pencil marks on his movies. Later, I read that his two biggest American influences were Welles and Cassavettes — and those opposing aesthetics said it all.

(Interestingly, I once saw a documentary about Kubrick in which Scorsese recalled the epiphany he had upon first learning that K had started as a still photographer: He finally understood the controlled framing and ability to distill information and meaning into single images. For me, this was ironic, because as a kid when I was first familiarizing myself with Scorsese’s movies, I kept thinking that it appeared as if he had never taken any still photos.)

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