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What makes films art?


Taxi Driver: Relationship with Martin Scorsese, Paul Schrader and Robert De Niro
Michael Chapman Film-maker
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With Marty [Martin Scorsese], we just... we just clicked somehow; we... we were able to... we were on the same page and... and I don't know that there's any... I don't have any great secret or anything to tell, or to say about how that happened; sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn't. I've also worked with directors where we didn't... we weren't on the same page, and where we just grudgingly got through the movie, you know, but Marty and I, we... we saw it the same, and we would see the dailies and it was working, you know, and there's nothing that... there's nothing that... you know, it... like good sex makes you love the other person, well, the... the good dailies that you... you know, it works out. You... you think you... you've reinforced each other; you think you're wonderful. It... I've never worked with such a brilliant director, I've never worked with such a brilliant cameraman, because the dailies look good, you know, and it's... it... but also we had... we did have a genuine, I think, sympathy, one for the other, and so did Paul [Schrader] and so did Bobby [Robert De Niro], because we were all... I mean, Bobby and... and Marty were born in New York, and Paul had lived there, and I'd lived there since 1953, and we were all were filled with... I mean, it's an extraordinarily New York movie, you know, and we were filled with New York-ness and we all had some... some emotions and... and vision about New York that we would... were discharging, whether we knew we were or not. And it all meshed together.

And Paul, who was not a native New Yorker at all, but had lived there off and on and felt... I mean, he had the... the emotions of... of Travis Bickle – Travis Bickle was right out of his head. He... Paul is extremely intelligent – I mean, just in terms of IQ, a brilliant, brilliant man, and for a time, an extraordinary writer. He... his directing is more comp... I actually shot one of his movies and I think it was... he's... I think he's... it's best that he should... he should write, but... but no, he's directed some movies that are good too, but he was a very, very intelligent man, and it was always fascinating to talk to him, and he came from an... a kind of academic background too. He'd been to film school and he had taught film; he'd written books on film theory and articles and this and that, and he was fascinating to talk to, always. So I had a... you know, I could... what more could I ask? I was having a... it was marvelous; it was like being in film school heaven, you know – it was... it had everything.

Michael Chapman (1935-2020), an American cinematographer, had a huge influence on contemporary film-making, working on an impressive array of classic films including 'Taxi Driver', 'Raging Bull', 'The Lost Boys' and 'The Fugitive'.

Listeners: Glen Ade Brown

British Director of Photography and Camera Operator Glen Ade Brown settled in Los Angeles 10 years ago.

He has been working on features, commercials and reality TV. He played an instrumental role in the award-winning ABC Family series "Switched" and is also a recipient of the Telly and the Cine Golden Eagle awards for Best Cinematography. He was recently signed by the Judy Marks Agency and is now listed in her commercial roster.

Tags: New York, Martin Scorsese, Paul Schrader, Robert De Niro

Duration: 2 minutes, 30 seconds

Date story recorded: May 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008