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ENG304 BIG PAPER - Stephen DeSimone ENG304 Film Genres...

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Stephen DeSimone April 10, 2008 ENG304 Film Genres Walton Long Paper assignment Question #2 Two Cities: Different yet Similar The film Taxi Driver gives us a unique view of New York City in the 1970’s. We see New York City from the point of view of a cabbie, a poor and mentally disturbed cabbie. This portrait of New York City is very different from the view normally seen by outsiders. New York has long been seen by the outside world as a mecca of civilization. While it is also widely known that the city has many problems, such as crimes involving violence or drugs. A film had never truly captured the unseen New York underbelly. Through the eyes of Travis Bickle we see a more real and raw New York, the raunchy after dark New York we seldom hear about and even when we do, we generally ignore it. We see a city of filth, sin and ignorance when the sun goes down. When the sun shines on the city we view a city of hope and promise. The Director, Martin Scorsese, shows the duality of this city through the window of a cab, the cab of Travis Bickle. Scorsese opens the film in the mists of a dark New York street. We see a cab emerge, yellow and checkered, an older model rounded and well used. The opening conveys a sense of mystery. Where are we? What is this place? The next image is a pair of eyes, a close shot of a man’s face but we are instantly drawn to his eyes, the only movement in this shot. They move back and forth slowly seeing everything while seeming to absorb little. Then we see the city through these eyes, looking through a windshield covered in rain. It’s misty and the water blurs
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our vision but we look out on the city, our city. Then back to the eyes, eyes that have seen allot and still have much to see. Back and forth the eyes observe the city of night. Again we see through these eyes, looking out on a blurred city with eyes unfocused from a long night and the bright neon lights of the city of night. Now we move to the morning where Scorsese shows us our eyepiece, our looking glass through which we will see the world. He allows a small look at his past and a hint of his future to explain the distortions he causes in our view. “Anytime, anywhere” he says. South Bronx or Harlem it’s all the same to him. Our eyepiece will take us to parts of a sleeping city we may never have dared venture on our own. Thus Scorsese gives us our first clue, our first vague idea of what’s to come. Our first glimpse of the world we are about to see. A world we may not even have known existed. Now Scorsese takes us to a safe place, a refuge for our eyeglass. We find ourselves inside a shabby one room apartment. The room is unkempt and cramped but a vast improvement over the filth of the streets of night. Here Travis reflects upon what he has seen. Through the use of voice-overs the director is able to guide our observations and help refocus our senses. After this brief respite we again take to the streets and observe the city of night through the eyes of our spyglass. Here Scorsese uses close ups of the cab to restrict our view. We begin with a shot of
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