Martin Scorsese is really tired of conversations about box office numbers when it comes to the cinematic arts.
The director behind absolute classics like Taxi Driver and Goodfellas sounded off about how much this has been bothering him for the last forty-plus years in a speech at the New York Film Festival on Wednesday.
“Cinema is devalued, demeaned, belittled from all sides, not necessarily the business side but certainly the art,” Martin Scorsese told the crowd at Lincoln Center in New York, where he introduced the New York Dolls documentary he co-directed with David Tedeschi called Personality Crisis: One Night Only.
“Since the ’80s, there’s been a focus on numbers. It’s kind of repulsive. Of course, the cost of a movie is one thing — I understand that a film costs a certain amount, they expect to at least get the amount back, plus. I get it. The emphasis is now on numbers, cost, the opening weekend, how much it made in the U.S.A., how much it made in England, how much it made in Asia, how much it made in the entire world, how many viewers it got. And as a filmmaker and as a person who can’t imagine life without cinema, I always find it really insulting.”
You could say Martin Scorsese has a right to complain, considering he’s been making movies since the late 1950s. The Wolf of Wallstreet director also had some kind words to say about the New York Film Festival, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. Scorsese called it “a spiritual home for filmmakers and the art of cinema.”
“I’ve always known that such considerations have no place at the New York film festal, and here’s the key also with this — there are no awards here. You don’t have to compete. You just have the love of cinema here. It’s just cinema. So please, keep it that way.”
Watch Martin Scorsese’s full speech below:
— Ellen Houlihan (@elliehoulie) October 13, 2022
Main Image: Martin Scorsese behind the camera on the set of Hugo. Photograph Courtesy of Paramount Pictures.