15 April 2008

Notes on TAXI DRIVER

I watched Taxi Driver again in film class this evening. What a great movie. During the discussion afterwards I noted a few insights and points that were new and interesting to me.


>Travis assassination attempt -> Travis's primal reaction against "everyone else" through the apparent leader, addressing his frustration with everything - politics, culture, and, especially, sex

>Bernard Hermann's Psycho motif plays during Travis's first killing in the bodega and are also the last notes heard in the film before the black screen with credits shows up.

>Is Schrader rewriting The Searchers through Taxi Driver? -> Ethan, the veteran, rescues Debbie from the savage Indians, leaving an ambiguous moral aftertaste for viewers in regard to Ethan's methods. Travis, the veteran, rescues the prostitute Iris from the street scum with the type of intense vigilante violence that leaves the same ambiguity in regards to Travis's heroism.

>Travis's mohawk reminiscent of American Indians. Yet, he is also called "cowboy"; he is a contradiction, just as Betsy first mentions.

>Taxi Driver is a road movie with the streets of NYC as the road, except this road doesn't take Travis anywhere - he can't flee.

> The scenes post-killing are Travis's dream? If not, is it purely ironic? Does the film endorse Travis's vigilante heroism? (I don't think so).

>His killing at the end as a type of orgasmic release which comes from his pent up sexual frustration and inability to maintain a relationship with anyone but himself.

>Scorsese addresses certain film conventions/genres, primarily: the returning veteran, the road movie, and the city in crisis films.

>The contrast of Travis's disgust with the city and "the scum" vs. the romanticism of the Beats' view of the homeless and the urban lower-class.

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In other self-congratulatory news, I was informed that I won my school's Meranze-Tomlinson Film Award "for excellence in writing about film." I get a little bit of money and some recognition during an award dinner, the date of which is still unknown to me. Of course, I am very honored and excited to be recognized by my professors, especially since I've been searching for some kind of sign that I'm headed in the right direction by pursuing film studies. This also made me think a bit more seriously about applying to graduate school for Cinema Studies, but there's no final decision on that yet. Anyway, thanks.

1 comment:

yoshinorimike said...

Wow congrats on that award Kazu! Very very awesome news, and you deserve it certainly~

-Yoshi