Monday, March 10

You Look'n At Me?

I check in with Taxi Driver, a remarkable film from '76 and known for its shocking violence. Scorcese says that he, writer Paul Schrader and De Niro were in a bad place when the filming began in New York during the post-Viet Nam era - a time when the city was generally coming apart from crime, violence and racial tension (racism is an ugly theme explored in Taxi Driver). Schrader debates whether film blood begets street violence arguing socio-paths exist regardless of the art, "which explores and reflects culture and not the other way." Taxi Driver works on many levels but the realism catches one off guard - from the strange film work catching Travis Bickle's moods (alka seltzer, rear-view mirror, overhead shots &c.) to the concluding tour de force which almost netted an "X" rating. Scorcese believed he was making a niche film with little outside appeal and was "surprised" by Taxi Driver's acceptance and Oscar nominations. And is Travis somehow cured following his bloody heroics and media fame? Absolutely not - he will kill again...

... and in England this past month alone we have sentenced the Suffolk Strangler Steve Wright who murdered at least five women in Ipswitch; Mark Dixie who knifed repeatedly then raped the corpse of teenager Sally Ann Bowman; and Levi Bellfield who stalked young women bludgeoning them with a hammer.

"All the animals come out at night - whores, skunk pussies, buggers, queens, fairies, dopers, junkies, sick, venal. Someday a real rain will come and wash all this scum off the streets. I go all over. I take people to the Bronx, Brooklyn, I take 'em to Harlem. I don't care. Don't make no difference to me. It does to some. Some won't even take spooks. Don't make no difference to me. "
Travis Bickle