Martin Scorsese

Sog., Scen.: Paul Schrader; F.: Michael Chapman; Mo.: Marcia Lucas, Tom Rolf, Melvin Shapiro; Scgf.: Charles ‘Chuck’ Ro-sen; Op.: Fred Schuler; Ass. op.: Alec Hirschfeld, Bill Johnson, Ron Zarilla, Sandy Brooke; Mu.: Bernard Herrmann; Int.: Robert De Niro (Travis Bickle), Jodie Foster (Iris), Albert Brooks (Tom), Leonard Harris (Charles Palantine), Peter Boyle (Mago), Cybill Shepherd (Betsy), Harvey Keitel (‘Sport’ Matthew), Leonard Harris (Charles Palantine), Steven Prince (Andy, il trafficante d’armi); Prod.: Michael Phillips, Julia Phillips per Columbia Pictures; Pri. pro.: maggio 1976
35mm. D.: 114′. Col

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

The appearance of the “yellow cab”, driv- ing around in slow motion through the steam spewing from manholes, has all the solemnity of a ceremony. Robert De Niro’s ordinary taxi emerges in the setting of Manhattan like an apocalyptic caval- cade. With the fascination and terror of someone who relives a familiar nightmare, Scorsese celebrates the rediscovered city in this lm. Like with Mean Streets, he is not afraid of using hyperbole to con- jure up evil. Is this hellish iconography over the top? No doubt about it, but we know not to expect a calm realistic ap- proach from the clairvoyant. He is in too much of a hurry to stop at the surface of the world he is lming, and he rst has to demonstrate its spectacular side. It is not surprising that Bernard Herrmann made his own contribution to the undertaking: the dark emphasis of his orchestration mimics the same disproportion, the same sense of impending disaster, the same certainty that a fatal air wraps the urban setting he makes us enter. (…) The tangi- ble hell of the city and the hell of roasted souls. Travis knows both of them very well, and Taxi Driver shows him in an attempt at martyrdom (…). His room is in the last circle: at the drift’s edge, De Niro looks crumpled like in the bottom of a well, at- tened by a vertical high angle shot that seems to be the point of view of God. The metaphor reigns as far as the direc- tor uncovers the hero’s mental landscape. Hell, Travis coasts along it every day, on the sidewalks where the indistinct fauna of prostitutes, pimps and drug addicts swarm about, in his taxi where his pas- sengers spray sperm and blood in sordid mating, and even in the loftiest circles of high society. (…) It would be futile to look at Taxi Driver as if it were a sociological study of the phenomenon of the vigilantes or even the phenomenological analysis of a “case”. The lm’s point of view is that of solipsist who has lost touch with reality. (…) We are warned right from the opening credits in which De Niro’s eyes, framed in the rectangle of a rear-view mirror, are superimposed with the iridescent lights of the city. The lm’s puritanical iconogra- phy is summed up in this vision of him as if severed from his body. Obsessed with the lth of the spectacle of the city that gathers waste.

Michael Henry, Qui veut faire l’ange…, “Positif”, n. 183-184, July-August 1976

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Restored in 4k from the original camera negatives