Destination Film: Martin Scorsese Exposition - La Cinematheque Francaise

The career and life of Martin Scorsese is on exhibit in Paris, France. 

Still shot from The Departed

Upon our arrival in Paris, France we saw massive posters for a Scorsese exhibit that was appearing at one of the largest movie libraries in the world. Little did we know that we'd get to participate in the first day of a beautifully crafted exposition dedicated to the man that brought us Goodfellas, Casino, Taxi Driver, The Wolf of Wall Street, The Aviator, and of course many many more.

La Cinematheque Francaise holds thousands upon thousands of films in their digital vaults that are available for viewing at any time as well as a massive library of text chronicling the history of movies with hundreds more about technique and editing. To say this destination is a cinephile's wet dream is a vast understatement. We were given a private tour of several levels that gave us a short glimpse into the grandiose achievements of the building and an overview of the many services provided by the extremely cordial staff. The building itself is a postmodern masterpiece that keeps vintage work prints under lock and key while giving feverish movie buffs access to one of the largest tributes to film on the face of the planet.

The exhibit opens with a large screen with four images projecting side by side. These digitally projected visuals show the comparisons marking Scorsese's consistent visual style and use of the same type of framing throughout his career. From there on, the exhibit takes audiences through his humble beginnings all the way to his latest films. Not only are visitors treated to costumes, early artwork, manuscripts, studio faxes, and massive back lit photos, they're shown early family images, his family's dining room table, and an inherent tone of the importance of his mother. With framed story board comparisons, encased set pieces, and a stunning array of career artifacts, this exposition is a well rounded balance of history, artistry, and the little details that make Scorsese one of the greats.

Amidst the displayed items and theatrical relics are screens showing scenes from some of Scorsese's works. Included are cuts from Cape Fear, Boxcar Bertha, Shine A Light, and many more. There's even a small room devoted to his life long love of The Rolling Stones. Just to the right of a projected Stones concert scene is a glass case which holds Martin's early age record collection in a small flipped open carrying case. Details like these humanize the display and make you feel right at home throughout the exposition. Despite a maddening crowd that tested my patience at times, this was one of the better exhibits we saw in Paris. The presentation is succinct, never overwhelming in its aesthetically pleasing tones.

Projected comparison shots
Our couple hours there were mind blowing and surreal while giving us an experience we'll never forget. Martin Scorsese is one of the modern greats. Seeing an exhibition dedicated to his life and his cinematic journey was a breath of fresh air that was eye opening and satisfactory on more levels than one. Ending our trip to Paris with a movie destination like this was the perfect conclusion to a vacation that was strictly focused on experiencing as much culture as possible.

Knowing that the cultural hub of the world was paying such attention to one of our domestic directorial kings was gratifying and reassures Scorsese's importance in the world of modern cinema. I cannot recommend this extensive exposition enough. Any fan of his works will find this to be a highly interesting and enlightening display of the man's legacy and his lifelong commitment to creative endeavors. If you have plans to be in Paris any time before February 14th, 2016, please check this out.


Click to enlarge images.

Raging Bull comparison - storyboard to film.
As noted throughout the exhibit,
there are consistent themes of crucifixion throughout
his career. 

Max Cady makeup shots - Cape Fear

Martin's 45 collection

Wolf of Wall Street costume design

Gangs of New York puppet

Leo's wardrobe from Gangs of New York

Cate Blanchett's dress as Hepburn in The Aviator

Gangs of New York still shot

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