Watch: Visual Essay on Director Martin Scorsese's Use of Silence
Considering the fact that director Martin Scorsese's next film is Silence, an adaptation of Shusaku Endo’s novel of the same name, it seems only appropriate that a new video essay focuses on his effective use of silence in his filmography. Tony Zhou (who also delivered the visual essay on Steven Spielberg's long takes) is back with a focus on the quiet side of Scorsese's filmmaking. This trait begins in Raging Bull, where Scorsese wanted to give the effect of being hit in the ear too many times, just like Jake LaMotta. And his use of silence has spanned through to recent films like The Departed and The Wolf of Wall Street.
As the essay points out, Scorsese is well known for making music, especially rock and roll, an integral part of his films, so much that some songs immediately make you think of films like GoodFellas. But these moments of silence in Scorsese's films are truly the work of a master filmmaker. It's interesting that the loudest part of The Last Temptation of Christ is followed by absolute silence, making the quiet that much more powerful. For anyone with more than a passing interest in filmmaking, this is a great lesson.