More than Hollywood
If you find Hollywood movies too commercial, what about the great New York directors? Each has its own style, but they have three things in common: Their films are deeper and more serious than typical Hollywood productions, they often show New York City, and none of the four is a “white Anglo-Saxon.” American!
Martin Scorsese was born into a Sicilian immigrant family, in an area of New York dominated by the mafia. As a child he witnessed many crimes and brutality, which he later portrayed in his films. They’re usually set in New York, and the characters are, as one reviewer once wrote, “the kind of people you wouldn’t want to meet.” He often casts Italian-American actors Robert De Niro (Taxi driver, GoodFellas) and Leonardo DiCaprio (The Aviator, The dead people). Scorsese’s films were sometimes criticized for the violence they contain. The director himself says: “Okay, but that’s the reality I see.” In 2007 he finally won an Oscar for The dead people.
Francis Ford Cappola also comes from an Italian-American origin. The image that made him famous was The Godfather (1972), the story of a mafia family; it also made Al Pacino a star. Two years later, with The Godfather II Coppola he became one of only five directors to win the Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay for the same film. His most ambitious film is Apocalypse now, a Vietnam War epic inspired by Joseph Conrad’s novel Heart of darkness.
Comedy director and actor Woody Allen, whose real name is Allen Stewart Konigsberg, comes from a Jewish family in New York. A typical Allen comedy is set and filmed in New York, contains a lot of funny dialogue and features a typical hero, played by the director himself: the “urban neurotic” intellectual. The black and white shots of New York in Manhattan they have become part of film history.