Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
We may earn a commission from links on this page

Scorsese defends young filmmakers against the content mill: "They have to really, really fight and not be co-opted"

Scorsese’s three-and-a-half hour epic, Killers Of The Flower Moon, will premiere October 20

We may earn a commission from links on this page.
Martin Scorsese
Martin Scorsese
Photo: Gareth Cattermole (Getty Images)

If anyone has something resembling a coherent philosophy these days it’s Martin Scorsese, who just really loves capital-C “Cinema” (enough to fight for TCM, one of its most beloved repositories) and wishes lowercase-c “content” would die in the fiery pits of Hell. It’s that simple! While he’s made waves with his anti-blockbuster stance time and time again, the famed Marvel hater shows no signs of slowing—as is his right. Who else, if not a nine-time Academy Award nominee, is going to look out for the little guy with the same amount of fervor as he is right now?

Case in point: in a recent TIME profile celebrating his leadership in the film industry and upcoming, three-and-a-half-hour epic Killers Of The Flower Moon, Scorsese still took some space to express his hopes for future filmmakers just coming onto the scene. “Young people expressing themselves with moving images, they’re going to find a way to be seen,” he said. “But they have to fight, they have to really, really fight and not be co-opted.”


Scorsese clearly loves a unique, singular vision and has heaped praise onto directors Ti West and Todd Field for their films Pearl (which he called “a pure, undiluted love for cinema”) and TÁR (which made him feel like “the clouds lifted” on a culture of too many predictable movies) in the past year months.

He also took space in the TIME interview to lament how these expansive visions can sometimes be used by frustrated studio heads against their own protégés, like himself and contemporaries, Francis Ford Coppola and Michael Cimino. “Ultimately, they (the studio heads) say, ‘Well, who wants personal filmmaking? Look what happened in the ’70s. By the end of it, you all went mad! And you went over budget and schedule, and you made these three movies, Apocalypse Now, Raging Bull, and Heaven’s Gate!’” he said. Hopefully, considering the outsized success of obvious directorial passion projects like Oppenheimer, as well as the hype around Ridley Scott’s Napoleon and his own Killers, a new era of appreciation from the business side will be ushered in... without anyone going mad this time.