“Scorsese” and the cinema of the troubled hero – Mahmoud Abdel Shakur

Posted on: Saturday, December 10, 2022 – 9:00 PM | Last update: Saturday, December 10, 2022 – 9:00 PM

Our love for cinema has always flowed through two paths: watching movies and reading books about them. Because of this love, we formed small cinematic libraries, because what was written in Arabic about world cinema, its great directors, and their artistic career was not great, and most of it was translated into an inaccurate language. ferries.
Therefore, I find myself happy with this considerable effort that is being undertaken, with diligence, passion, awareness, and sincerity, by film critic Amir Al-Omari, which appears as if it were a multi-episode project that yielded books dealing with the works of international directors, with a clear methodology, that monitors the keys to each director’s films, the ideas that occupy him, and his choices. stylistic and aesthetic, as each book includes a detailed critical analysis of his works, and the most prominent readings of foreign critics of those films, which is an approach that makes each book a real reference, and prompts the reader to re-watch these works with a different look, or Excite him to watch it for the first time, if he has not seen it before .
From that series, Al-Omari published two distinguished books: the first is about the world of director Federico Fellini, and the second is about the world of director Sergio Leone, and here he presents his new book, issued by the Saudi Film Festival, in cooperation with Dar Rusham, which is titled “Martin Scorsese .. The Cinema of the Crippled Hero”, discussing the biography and work of one of the most talented, accomplished and controversial American directors.
The author chooses 20 Scorsese films, allowing focus on the ideas that occupies him, the themes that haunt him, and the manifestations of all this in a dramatic, stylistic and aesthetic way. As far as you can see Scorsese’s mind, his obsessions, and his pending and haunting questions, as he projected them on the characters of his films, all his film projects take place under his supervision, and are shaded by his vision, in form and content.
A fun, surprising, and profound tourism as well, looking for the seeds of ideas, obsessions, and style, even in his first short films, while he is a student at the Film Department at New York University, and in his first feature films with independent producers, such as his important movie “Dirty Streets,” all the way to his huge Hollywood films, Some of these films achieved millions at the box office, such as “The Departed”, “Shutter Island” and “The Wolf of Wall Street”.
The man did not stop looking for financing to realize his films, from a limited independent production in its early beginnings, to the movie “The Irishman”, which was produced by Netflix, with a budget of $ 175 million, and waiting for the presentation of his next movie, “The Killers of the Flower Moon”, which was funded by the Apple network. The budget of this film is estimated at 200 million dollars.
Scorsese, as Al-Omari drew the features of his personality and his films, is not only a skilled literal director, but he has a vision and a personal imprint. American and European schools and films that he admired mixed in his works, so that it is no longer surprising to find in one of his early works a tribute to the world and style of Godard and Truffaut, and a tribute to the world of Hitchcock and Howard Hawks, the great masters of genres.
It is possible to talk about “Scorsese cinema” with specific features, despite the diversity of its worlds and characters, and the most prominent of these features is Scorsese’s fondness for contemplating distressed heroes, who suffer from severe internal conflicts, which in fact reflect the struggles of Scorsese himself, who was born in New York to parents of Italian origin.
He was a talented painter, but he wanted to become a priest, and then cinema came to give him the opportunity to present a world he knew, whose characters oscillate between the soul and the body, between the church and the gang, between the hell of the afterlife, and the hell of the streets.
It is the opposite cinema of the hero, who is controlled by fate, and who is trying to escape. His characters are tragic par excellence, placed in a turbulent environment, so he tries to wear masks to survive and to achieve wealth.
They rebel and practice violence, but he presents them from the outside and the inside, and exposes their fragility, presenting its members as they face a force greater than them, especially when they are placed in the face of institutions, such as mafia gangs.
It is not true that he only made his films about the Italian-American community, and it is not true that his films revolve only in the world of gangs and crime. The book confirms that he was following his thoughts, questions and concerns, and not behind a place or city with its eyes.
Although his famous works are linked to New York City, such as “The Taxi Driver” and “Gangs of New York,” he also raises his questions through different worlds and places, such as the haunting question of faith, in his two famous films, “The Last Temptation of Christ” and “Silence.”
The author cleverly captures the remarkable presence of the “padron” character, or the big man, in Scorsese’s films, in various variations. He is the substitute for the father, and the man who gives protection to his followers, as a strange duality appears, which is the woman as a virgin, in exchange for the woman as a prostitute.
Even the gangs that appear in Scorsese’s films seem as if they were an alternative family, with their own system and rules, and violence, blood, murder and betrayal are all elements that can be read as a result of the absence of morals.
As for the characters who achieve wealth and success, they cannot control their contradictions, and eventually fall, as in his well-known films: “Raging Bull” and “The Wolf of Wall Street.”
In terms of style, the author monitors clear elements, such as long shots, Scorsese’s ingenuity in selecting his actors, his reliance on improvisation in some scenes, his use of the suspended narrator’s voice, sometimes through different characters, and the pivotal role of music.
Sometimes he may resort to breaking the illusion, moving away from the traditional plot, and using montage in a shocking and intentional way, all of which confirm the extent of his absorption of the trends of modernity in European cinema.
The detailed analysis of the films presented by the book is full of information, and clearly confirms that the great director also has a persistent practical spirit, which makes him enthusiastically return to an old project, and makes him able to tame the production conditions in his favor. An interesting and reference book by a great critic on an exceptional director.

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