Scorsese, De Palma, Schrader, Lynch, Bertolucci, Allen, Polanski, and Demme analyse key scenes from their film output

Mark Cousins’ Scene by Scene BBC series consists of detailed, incisive discussions in which film directors analyse key scenes from their film output. Those interviewed include such famous names as Brian De Palma, David Lynch, Bernardo Bertolucci, Woody Allen, Roman Polanski, Martin Scorsese, Jonathan Demme and many others. Presented in a lively and accessible manner by Mark Cousins, the series will appeal to the general viewer and those wishing to learn about the craft of filmmaking.

Brian De Palma talks to Cousins about his maverick career, his childhood and his films: “So I like to try to go back and develop pure visual storytelling. Because to me, it’s one of the most exciting aspects of making movies and almost a lost art at this point.”

Cousins talks to director Bernardo Bertolucci about the frank sexuality in his work, his influences and his hatred of his native Italy. Bertolucci talks about his love for Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless, and also his methods of directing a scene.

Recorded prior to the release of The Straight Story, this fifty-minute episode gives great insight into David Lynch and his method of filmmaking. A full transcript of the interview with David Lynch can be found here.

Roman Polanski gives a masterclass on the making of Chinatown. Hear why he believes it to be his best film, and learn the stories behind his approach to script construction, mise-en-scène, directing difficult actors, and unhappy endings.

The Silence of the Lambs director Jonathan Demme deconstructs one of the film’s pivotal scenes. Demme talks about the influence of Hitchcock’s techniques on Lambs, as well as actress Jodie Foster’s passion for the iconic role of Clarice Starling.

“In this one hour discussion circa June 2000 (around the release of Small Time Crooks) Woody Allen talks about his obsession with death, if personal issues affected his movies, and how his film rarely live up to his own expectations. It’s a very honest and insightful look into what makes Woody Allen function, featuring plenty of clips as well.” —The Playlist

A personal insight into most of Paul Schrader’s directorial output from Blue Collar (1978) to Affliction (1997).

“Scorsese reminisces about his early years at NYU and how, prior to making his forays into New York City’s East Village, he was ‘pretty much living in a little Sicilian village’ in Manhattan. His exposure to new people and cultures opened his eyes and broadened his storytelling, leading in part to his short, The Big Shave, which Scorsese calls ‘angry arts against Vietnam.’ The pair don’t just focus on Scorsese’s films: the director also discusses the films and filmmakers that influenced him. A great example is his use of the color yellow in The Age of Innocence. Scorsese says his fade to yellow when Michelle Pfeiffer receives flowers was inspired by directors’ Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger use of red in Black Narcissus. At one point, Scorsese talks about how he ignored a suggestion from Paul Schrader to change the ending to Goodfellas, so as not to alienate audiences who might not sympathize with Ray Liotta’s Henry Hill.” —The Playlist

In May 2007, Amanda Palmer attended Martin Scorsese’s Masterclass at the Cannes Film Festival. Joining her and hundreds of others was Pulp Ficton director Quentin Tarrantino—they had all come to hear one of the most influential directors of the past 40 years talk about his life in filmmaking. They were not disappointed. The director of Taxi Driver and Goodfellas told them how he fell in love with cinema as a child; about the filmmakers who influenced his storytelling, and revealed how he met his life-long friends and actors Robert De Niro and Harvey Keitel. Scorsese attracted critical attention with his debut feature film, Who’s that Knocking on My Door, which began as a graduate student project at New York University. With Mean Streets, he started making movies about what he knows best—New York City. Taxi Driver won him the Palm D’or at the 1976 Cannes Film Festival, but it was not until The Departed—his 44th film—that he eventually won his long awaited Oscar for best director.

This edition of The Fabulous Picture Show is a half hour special dedicated to Scorsese’s masterclass. The New York-born Italian-American directed the grittiest and the most realistic movies of his time. The street-smart naturalism and the brutality in his films come from his memories of his childhood in Little Italy, a harsh neighbourhood in New York where Scorsese observed in real live the themes that he would return to again and again in his films. When Scorsese was diagnosed with asthma at the age of three he had to spend much of his time at home, and had no choice but to watch films on TV. He has often stated that television provided him with the best film education and that the movies he watched influenced his storytelling in the way he portrayed real people, and represented true to life stories. —Martin Scorsese’s masterclass

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