The Italian Almanac

Martin Scorsese

Italian News - November 27

Celebrated Hollywood director Martin Scorsese on Saturday paid homage to Italian cinema. In a long speech after receiving an honorary degree in Bologna, Scorsese cited Roberto Rossellini, Luchino Visconti, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Ermanno Olmi and Francesco Rosi. "It's impossible for me to express how much I learned from Italian cinema," said the 63-year old director, who boasts Sicilian ancestry.

"One of the most formative experiences of my life was to see (Rossellini's) Paisa' on a small TV when I was five, with my parents and grandparents, watching their reactions. Thanks to that film I discovered who I was and where I came from."

Without the postwar Italian film renaissance, Scorsese said, "As a Sicilian, as an American and as a movie-maker I wouldn't know where I'd be.". As for Pasolini, Scorsese said "his films re-opened my eyes like a smack in the face." Scorsese, known for violent films like Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Goodfellas and Gangs of New York, ended his speech by urging his young audience to "become human beings able to feel compassion."

"It might seem easy but it's a long, risky and sometimes deceptive road. I'm 63 and I've just started.". Later on Saturday Scorsese received a life-time achievement award from the Federico Fellini Foundation in Rimini.