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Did I worry about Taxi Driver?


Movies as the church of the 20th century
Michael Chapman Film-maker
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Scorsese has been quoted as saying that film or the movies is the church of the 20th century, and we can all understand what he meant, you know – that it's a place where everybody comes together, whether they are Catholic or Methodist or Buddhist or whatever; they're all members of the... the First Church of Cinematic Science, or whatever you want to call it, because they... they all get together in a large dark space, and they all stare at one object, and feel some communal sense. And I... and I think it's, by and large, true, in which case the advent of television is the... is the beginning of Protestantism, since it breaks up into more and more sects, and more and more channels... and oddly enough Leon Trotsky said the same thing in an essay in the early '20s, called Vodka, the Church and Cinema. He said the same thing, that... it just charms me to think of Marty and... and Trotsky on the same page, if only for a brief, brief time, but he did... he said exactly the same thing: that it was for the lower orders, or for the proletariat, or for the workers, whatever, I forget however it was translated from Russian. It was in effect the church of the present – of the then present time – and of course, the people who ran Soviet Russia took movies very, very seriously, as exactly that, as a form of... I mean, as its worst propaganda, at its best some glorification of the advance of Socialism. I don't think that's what Marty had in mind, but... but I do like the idea of Trotsky and Marty saying the same thing. And I'm almost certain that Marty had never read that essay by Trotsky; I think I could swear to that, because it was... it's a pretty obscure essay.

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: Vodka, the Church and Cinema, Russia, Martin Scorsese, Leon Trotsky

Duration: 1 minute, 36 seconds

Date story recorded: May 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008