their favorite movie of the other


    This article originally appeared in the June 1996 issue of Esquire.

    Martin Scorsese: My Favorite Coppola Movie

    There are certain movies in the history of cinema that seem to capture the collective imagination around the world. They become milestones, reference points for all other works before and after. Its virtues are based both on the mastery of the narrative and on the epic scale of its theme. the saga of The Godfather, in its three parts, is one of these creations, a monumental work that has haunted me for years. Constructed like a symphony and directed by a teacher like a great conductor, it reaches its highest points of lyricism, for me, in The Godfather, Part IImy favorite Francis Ford Coppola movie.

    I admire the ambition of the project, its Shakespearean breadth, its tragic melancholy in portraying the dissolution of the American dream. I admire his use of parallel editing to accentuate the paradoxes of historical analysis, Gordon Willis’s dark-toned photography, the actors’ performances, the precision of his period reconstruction. It’s mostly the movie within the movie, the story of young Vito Corleone and his journey from Sicily to the Lower East Side, that touched me deeply and personally.

    Maybe I saw a bit of my grandparents on that trip; maybe I recognized my old neighborhood; perhaps I shared the sadness of the dream that turns into a nightmare, of the spectacle of the old patriarchal family unit that tries to survive its own destruction from within. Perhaps all this and more – the rituals, the parties, the music, the minor characters – struck a deep chord within me.

    editorial use only no book cover usage mandatory credit photo by paramountkobalshutterstock 5885947t robert duvall, michael v gazzo the godfather part ii 1974 director francis ford coppola paramount usa scene still drama godfather 2 two le parrain 2

    Robert Duvall and Michael V. Gazzo in The Godfather. Part II


    His use of language is extraordinary. The Sicilian dialect becomes more than just a secret code for the initiated; it is an umbilical cord connected to an archaic society that carries its ancient rules to the New World. By defining ourselves and them, we guarantee our survival.

    That is why I find Frank Pentangeli – the character played by Michael V. Gazzo – so special in The Godfather, Part II. The way it unfolds, its tone, its language, reveal someone ancient, someone who knows the Old World and sadly witnesses how it has changed. Nobody knows how to play the tarantella anymore, he complains. The mere presence of his brother at congressional hearings is enough for him to retract as a government witness. It is the Old World, with its old and immovable values, that has suddenly reappeared to remind him of an atavistic code of honor.

    editorial use only no book cover usage mandatory credit photo by paramountkobalshutterstock 5885947az robert de niro the godfather part ii 1974 director francis ford coppola paramount usa scene still drama godfather 2 two le parrain 2

    Robert DeNiro in The Godfather. Part II


    In The Godfather, Part II, we also attend a different world than the old and crowded neighborhood. Michael Corleone rules his empire from his fortress-like Lake Tahoe estate. He deals with Batista’s Cuba and Las Vegas. He has traveled a lot. His accumulation of wealth and power has cost him all human ties: wife, children, brother, associates. In fact, he has lost his family, his main reason for amassing wealth and power to begin with. Unlike the gangsters in 1930s Hollywood movies, he doesn’t die, but lives on, which seems like an even greater punishment.

    Francis Ford Coppola: My Favorite Scorsese Movie

    I have several favorite Martin Scorsese movies, I love them bad streets, the king of comedy, Who is knocking my door? But I think that Wild bull it’s the film where he orchestrates all the elements – the conception, the acting, the visuals, the style – into something that tells a particular story (Jake LaMotta’s) and then goes further. Ultimately, the purpose of art is to illuminate our time and the things that are important to us, and Wild bull it does so, seemingly effortlessly, as few movies try, let alone succeed. the sweet life Y Fellini, eight and a half (8½) have those kind of proportions, and so does Wild bull. All of the performances are excellent because of Marty’s use of improvisation within a dramatic structure, in which, on the one hand, he lets the actors feel the freedom of life, so they can say what they want, but, on the other hand, another controls them so that everything they say and do contributes to the overall picture. It has spectacular visual effects, wonderful use of music and rhythm, beautiful editing, and on top of that, these huge universal human themes.

    editorial use only no book cover usage mandatory credit photo by united artistskobalshutterstock 5885783ak robert de niro, cathy moriarty raging bull 1980 director martin scorsese united artists usa scene still biopic drama

    Robert De Niro and Cathy Moriarty in Wild bull

    United Artists/Kobal/ShutterstockShutterstock

    All of us who make movies in this country are trying to figure out how to swim with the tides that make it possible to be a viable director while still addressing personal feelings in our work. Being a director is like being Christo, the artist: Part of his art is in the building involved, but another part is in everything he had to go through to get it off the ground. Even after Wild bullNobody said to Marty, “Hey, here’s the money to make the movies you love.” If I had been born into a family that had $500 million lying around, I could make a movie of that level every year.

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