Oh Martin Scorsese, I just wanted to watch your new critically-acclaimed flick, The Irishman, and admire it like all your other movies. What I didn’t want is your hot takes about things like Marvel films and female characters.
After initially causing a hell of a fustercluck by loudly proclaiming how Marvel films are killing cinema (they’re not), which resulted in an outpouring of rebukes and weak defences from fellow old Hollywood directors, he’s now turned his attention to how female characters can detract from a story.
When presenting The Irishman at the Rome Film Fest, Scorsese was asked (via The Hollywood Reporter) about why his films’ protagonists are almost only dudes, he tersely shot down the question:
“No. That’s not even a valid point. That’s not valid. I can’t…. That goes back to 1970. That’s a question that I’ve had for so many years. Am I supposed to?
“If the story doesn’t call for it…. It’s a waste of everybody’s time. If the story calls for a female character lead, why not?“
Scorsese then rattled off films like Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, The Age of Innocence, and Casino as examples where there are great female characters, almost as to say “see, I totally did the female character thing!”
Interesting take there, Marty. Say, of all the films you’ve made over your long career, is there one featuring a female protagonist whose story doesn’t involve her being a function in the men’s stories?
Scorsese’s comment about female characters and stories isn’t wrong per se, but it’s a pretty hard to take from a man whose filmography is almost entirely filled with stories about men.
When you take into account all the memorable female characters you can remember from his films compared to male characters, the wide discrepancy shows how Scorsese actively chooses to tell stories about men rather than women.
That’s his decision and its fine, but that doesn’t mean we can’t also call him out on said decisions, especially when he makes comments about female characters detracting from stories. Sure Martin Scorsese is a legendary director but you can be that and also a puffy chested bro at the same time.
As an extra hot take cherry on top of this fustercluck, Marty then decided to have a go at all the youths these days and how their knowledge of history is all messed up because they’re too busy on their phones rather than, uh, watching his historically-accurate movies.
“How are they going to know about WWII? How are they going to know about Vietnam? What do they think of Afghanistan? What do they think of all of this? They’re perceiving it in bits and pieces. There seems to be no continuity of history.”
Umm, okay then.
Just an FYI, Marty, we get our history lessons about WWII, Vietnam and Afghanistan from classes and stuff on those phones. We certainly don’t get them through fictionalised – and often inaccurate – recreations of historical events such as those in The Irishman and many of your other movies.
But then again, should we be surprised that Martin Scorsese is having a go at technology, Marvel and young people?
He’s a 76-year-old man who’s had it pretty easy for most of his career so we shouldn’t be too shocked that he’s going through a pretty big case of “old man yells at cloud” right now.