In Depth

Good fella: Scorsese season at the BFI

To celebrate the release of his latest epic, Silence, Martin Scorsese is honoured in a retrospective series this January and February

A sweeping, historical epic nearly three decades in the making, Silence is the latest feature from director Martin Scorsese. Arguably his most divisive film to date, it is a monumental labour of love that, although ostensibly miles away from the gritty New York backdrop of his most popular films, draws on his familiar themes of faith, guilt and redemption.

It's reassuring to know that, after more than half a century in the film industry, Scorsese is still producing such original and groundbreaking work. The award-winning director is consistently recognised as one of the most influential filmmakers of his generation, producing such era-defining flicks as Raging Bull, Taxi Driver and Goodfellas.

Along with the highly anticipated release of Silence, the 21st century has seen some of Scorsese's finest work, including The Wolf of Wall Street – his highest-grossing film to date – and The Departed, which finally bagged him an Oscar in 2007.

Coinciding with the launch of Silence, the BFI is running a major season dedicated to the genius of Scorsese, including a full retrospective of his career, with screenings of his best-loved movies as well as his 1967 feature debut Who's That Knocking at My Door? Nor do fans need to make the pilgrimage to London to take part as, from 20 January, select cinemas across the UK will be screening Goodfellas, The Age of Innocence and Taxi Driver, all released in painstaking 4k digital restoration.

Scorsese is not only celebrated as a talented and prolific film director, but also for his commitment to cinema as an art form. A self-confessed cinephile since childhood, Scorsese founded the not-for-profit Film Foundation in 1990 with the aim of restoring classic films for future generations to enjoy. Many of these  had a profound influence on Scorsese's early career and the director has personally curated a selection to be screened at the Southbank as part of the BFI season, including 1920s silent movies and forgotten classics of the Golden Age of Hollywood.

"Martin Scorsese's contribution to cinema is unique and unparalleled," said Stuart Brown, BFI head of programme and acquisitions. "Not only is he is one of America's finest filmmakers with a remarkable body of work, but he has also… brought back to life many classic, silent, independent and world cinema titles that might otherwise have disappeared from view. Scorsese's own films are formally inventive, original in style, expertly cast, full of insight and highly entertaining. The BFI is thrilled to be bringing them back to the big screen where they belong."

bfi.org.uk

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