For JN December 2020
Martin Scorsese, one of the world’s leading film directors, has warmly accepted an invitation to teach a masterclass at Tel Aviv’s prestigious Steve Tisch film and television school when coronavirus restrictions are lifted globally.
Mr Scorsese made his pledge in an hour-long discussion with lecturers and students of the film school, part of Tel Aviv University, in an online webinar this week.
Famed for iconic films such as Raging Bull, Taxi Driver, Mean Streets and Goodfellas, Mr Scorsese is also a writer and producer who involves himself in every aspect of his films, and is the most-nominated Academy Award living director.
In conversation with the Tel Aviv team, Mr Scorsese, from a Sicilian-American family, reminisced about his early years growing up in heavily populated Italian and Jewish neighbourhoods in New York. Because, he said, he had developed asthma as a boy, he hadn’t taken part in sports, instead beginning his lifelong love affair with cinema, and drawing and sketching.
He said that the gritty realism of many of his films only reflected what he and his family knew. “My family didn’t have a book in the house”, he recalled. “America, to us, was Eisenhower playing golf” — in other words a foreign country with little relevance to the way the Scorseses and their neighbours lived.
The director said that he had not visited Israel since 1983, but had loved it and would jump at an opportunity to go back. He also spoke of his admiration for recent Israeli cinema, particularly Foxtrot, directed by Samuel Maoz. The film won the Grand Jury prize at the Venice Film Festival in 2017. “I loved it, I would really like to see more”, he said. “Can you send me some more films?”