Martin Scorsese’s 50-year filmmaking career and longtime side gig as a film preservation advocate has led to him being recognized as the world’s biggest cinephile for decades. But his increasingly vocal passion for the medium — and yes, his viral comments about Marvel movies — have given him a new kind of relevance in recent years as an aspirational figure for young cinephiles on the Internet who are dismayed by the state of the industry. So it feels appropriate (if surreal) that the 80-year-old auteur now has a Letterboxd account.
As part of the lengthy promotional cycle for “Killers of the Flower Moon,” Scorsese has officially joined the film-centric social media site that encourages users to log and review films that they have seen. And he’s been busy, logging 69 films and curating a list of classics that he recommends pairing with his own work.
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“I love the idea of putting different films together into one program. I grew up seeing double features, programs in repertory houses, evenings of avant-garde films in storefront theatres,” Scorsese wrote in his introduction to his “Companion Films” list. “You always learn something, see something in a new light, because every movie is in conversation with every other movie. The greater the difference between the pictures, the better.”
Scorsese continued: “Over the years, I’ve been asked to pair my own pictures with older films by other people that have inspired them. The request has come from film festivals, which present the pairings as a program. The terms ‘inspiration’ and ‘influence’ aren’t completely accurate. I think of them as companion films. Sometimes the relationship is based on inspiration. Sometimes it’s the relationships between the characters. Sometimes it’s the spirit of the picture. Sometimes it’s far more mysterious than that.”
Scorsese’s list of Companion Films reflects his extensive knowledge of world cinema as well as the depth of his own filmography. He naturally selected five pairings for “Killers of the Flower Moon,” including William Wyler’s 1949 romantic drama “The Heiress” and Howard Hawks’ Western “Red River.” And the entire list is filled with surprising deep cuts including Dino Risi’s great Italian road trip comedy “Il Sorpasso” for “The Color of Money,” Abbas Kiarostami’s format shattering metafictional documentary “Close-Up” for “Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story,” and the original “Ocean’s Eleven” starring Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin for “Goodfellas.”
One thing Scorsese has yet to do is fill out the “Favorite Films” section of his Letterboxd account. If you’re curious about that, check out IndieWire’s updating list of the director’s favorite films.
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