Martin Scorsese: A Biography

Martin Scorsese: A Biography

Martin Scorsese: A Biography

Martin Scorsese: A Biography


Martin Scorsese's current position in the international film community is unrivaled, and his name has become synonymous with the highest standards of filmmaking excellence. He is widely considered America's best living film director, and his "Taxi Driver" and "Raging Bull" appear frequently on worldwide surveys of the best films of all time. Here, in the first biographical account of this artist's life, Vincent Lo Brutto traces Scorsese's Italian-American heritage, his strict Catholic upbringing, the continuing role of religion in his life and art, his obsessive love of cinema history, and the powerful impact that the streets of New York City had on his personal life and his professional career.

Meanwhile, the filmmaker's humble, soft-spoken public persona tells only part of the story, and Lo Brutto will delve into the other side of a complex and often tortured personality. Scorsese's intense passion, his private relationships, his stormy marriages, and his battles with drugs and depression are all chronicled here, and, in many cases, for the first time. In addition, the book includes an interview with the director, as well as filmographies cataloging his work as a director, producer, actor, and presenter.

As his Best Director award at the 2007 Oscars clearly demonstrated, Scorsese has become something like Hollywood royalty in recent years, finally enjoying the insider status and favor that eluded him for most of his career. But these recent developments aside, Scorsese is also notable as a distinctly American type of artist, one whose work-created in a medium largely controlled by commercialism and marketing-has always been unmistakably his own, and who thus remains a touchstone of artistic integrity in American cinema. In "Martin Scorsese: A Biography," readers can examine not only the work of one of the form's genuine artists, but also the forces that have propelled the man behind it.


This biography is a critical, cultural, and psychological investigation where the work of Martin Scorsese is the spine and soul of the man.

Since the era of auteur criticism, a tradition has been established of mining a director’s canon of films for themes, personal artifacts, clues, and codes that would reveal and define the creator. This approach makes for fascinating reading and discussion but is inherently treacherous for a biographer. In my biography of Stanley Kubrick (a filmmaker who greatly inspired and influenced Martin Scorsese), intensive research into the life and work of Kubrick (1928–1998) led me to conclude that the auteur methodology might have provided some answers about Kubrick, the man, but that to purport direct connections between thematic properties of Kubrick’s films and the facts and reality of his life would have been an auteurist trap to fall into—by mistakenly assigning attitude, behavior, and personality traits “found” in the films to its maker.

If Kubrick was cool and analytical, Martin Scorsese is red-hot and emotional. Scorsese is a personal filmmaker. Every one of his films contains his DNA in varying degrees. Scorsese’s films are informed by the finite areas directly related to his life: Italian and Italian-American culture, Catholicism, New York City, the movies, film history and film grammar, and family—blood relatives and the brotherhood of the cinema. The signposts, autobiographical references, thematic allusions, personal views, and the mirror of film history are there to be identified, read, decoded, and explained.

The genesis of this book began in 1997 when my then literary agent suggested I follow up Stanley Kubrick: A Biography with one on Martin . . .

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