Directed by Scorsese, written by Paul Schrader, this Palme d’Or winner is a 70s classic.
Dir Martin Scorsese
With Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Cybill Shepherd, Harvey Keitel
Digital (4K in NFT1 & NFT3, 2K elsewhere)
A Park Circus release
Brilliantly scripted by Paul Schrader, and realised by Scorsese, this Palme d’or-winner – now newly restored – is one of the defining films of the 70s. Driving his cab through New York’s neon-lit streets, insomniac Vietnam veteran Travis Bickle (De Niro) fantasises about clearing away the human ‘garbage’ that so offends him. Rebuffed by a presidential campaign-worker (Shepherd) he’s infatuated with, he turns his attention to a teenage prostitute (Foster). Using expressionist colour and camera positioning – and Bernard Herrmann’s unsettling score – to evoke Bickle’s hallucinatory sense of the city as a livid inferno, Scorsese paints an utterly persuasive portrait of a loner whose increasingly psychotic rage is fuelled by racist and misogynist fears of all-round impotence. And De Niro’s extraordinary performance endows Bickle with a frighteningly real menace.
Geoff Andrew, Programmer-at-large