Martin Scorsese has, perhaps deservedly, become one of the most celebrated and highly regarded filmmakers of our time. Certainly it's hard to think of another contemporary figure - besides Quentin Tarantino - who so brilliantly expresses the transformative power of art in general and cinema in particular. So given the events across the ponds in the last few weeks, it's fitting to cite this piece - courtesy, as ever, of Letters of Note.
In November 1993, the great Italian auteur Federico Fellini (most famous for 8 1/2) passed away at the age of 73. His death brought with it many outpourings of grief and gushing tributes - but also a few voices of derision in the Western press. A week after Fellini's death, Bruce Weber wrote a piece in The New York Times criticising what he perceived as the deliberately evasive and unintelligible qualities of Fellini's work.
Scorsese's response, which you can read in full here, speaks to our time as loudly as it did in the 1990s. The cultural dangers we face from shutting out those who are perceived as being 'different' to ourselves are potentially catastrophic. British society in particular has always been at its strongest when we acknowledge our history as a melting pot of different cultures, from which great work and new, shared identites can emerge. If you have found yourself in any way unnerved by the actions of Donald Trump's government, whether you voted for him or not, this letter is worth a read.
If you're still wanting more Scorsese after that, you can check out my old review of Shutter Island or check back here in a few weeks, when I'll be reviewing The Departed. See you soon!