David Stratton Curates Scorsese Retrospective

Scott Wallace
1st Apr 2016

David Stratton is shifting gears for this year's Sydney Film Festival. Last year, the beloved cinema critic explored the work of Swedish film icon Ingmar Bergman, and this year he'll be turning his attention to one of America's greatest ever directors, Martin Scorsese.

Essential Scorsese: Selected by David Stratton will screen over two weekends during the Sydney Film Festival (8 – 19 June) at the Art Gallery of NSW. The retrospective program of 10 specially imported 35mm prints features works by one of the most influential directors of our time.

The renowned critic and broadcaster, who was appointed director of the Sydney Film Festival 50 years ago, and held the position from 1966 to 1983, will introduce selected screenings in the retrospective program.

Stratton says: “Scorsese talks in a rapid-fire style as though he doesn’t have enough time to describe everything he knows. He’s like a character in a 1930s movie. His films are passionate too. His best are explosive in their impact, crammed with information and detail. On the one hand, his Catholic upbringing leads him to tackle religious subjects (The Last Temptation of Christ, Kundun) while the Saturday matinee kid in him revels in the trashy gore of his gangster films.”

Stratton has selected a broad range from Scorsese's prolific and influential output. The earliest film included is 1973's Mean Streets, which stars Robert DeNiro and Harvey Keitel, and was the first artistic breakthrough for the world-conquering director. The retrospective continues through certified classics Taxi Driver (1976), Raging Bull (1980), Goodfellas (1990), and Casino (1995) but also includes less widely heralded and somewhat atypical but no less important films like Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974), New York, New York (1977), The King of Comedy (1982), and The Aviator (2004).

Stratton's selection shows great care in selecting the most representative and important milestones in Scorsese's career. There are some notable exclusions, particularly from Scorsese's nigh-unstoppable run in the 21st Century, but knowing how much Stratton loves film, and how much he adores Scorsese, you can rest assured that you'll be in good hands. 

Head here to buy tickets for Sydney Film Festival screenings. A special Scorsese pass to all ten films is $130 (plus a booking fee), or individual tickets are available for $19.90 (plus a booking fee; or $17 concession). 

Flexipasses and subscriptions to Sydney Film Festival 2016 are on sale now.
Call 1300 733 733 or visit
sff.org.au for more information.
The full Sydney Film Festival program is announced in May 2016.

Essential Scorsese: Selected by David Stratton is also on in Melbourne at ACMI (27 May-12 June) to coincide with ACMI’s exhibition SCORSESE  (26 May-18 September).  All 10 films will screen at the NFSA in Canberra (1-23 July) after Sydney Film Festival’s screenings.