“Taxi Driver” is the story of America’s moral decline after the Vietnam War, of alienation, violence and post-trauma stress disorder, which swept society and are reflected in the frenzy of antihero veteran taxi driver Travis Bickle. In 1976, this violent and uncompromising drama was awarded the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. In the cinemas of Minsk, the 4K-restoration of the film, made in 2011 under the direction of the director, will be shown. The film will be screened at the Tsentralny, Pioner, Raketa and Falcon Club Cinema boutique in English with Russian subtitles.
Travis Bickle, a former Marine and Vietnam War veteran, suffers from insomnia and therefore takes a job as a taxi driver. He circles aimlessly through the night New York, mired in violence and vice, and dreams of how one fine day “the downpour will wash away all this carrion from the streets.” The only bright spot for Bickle is Betsy, but this fascination quickly develops into an obsession, as does the desire to save the young prostitute Iris. Travis becomes more and more paranoid and decides that he himself should become that downpour…
Paul Schrader, a renowned film critic and author of important theoretical texts on cinema, wrote the script based on his own experience of insomnia and depression. Paul Schrader included in the script elements of noir and western: from the first came fatalism, gloom and an ambiguous hero, and from the second – the motive for the search for justice. This film includes also allusions to the political climate of the United States of that time and the war in Vietnam, the consequences of which pervaded the entire society. The resulting script fits perfectly into the tendencies of New Hollywood: socio-political problems, criticism of society, scenes of violence and provocative images. Martin Scorsese, who was a rising star in American cinema, quickly joined the project, followed by Robert De Niro and Harvey Keitel, who played in his “Mean Streets”. Preparing for the role, De Niro received a taxi driver’s license and worked in New York for several weeks. The film was a breakthrough for Jodie Foster, who at the time of filming was only 12 years old, and the last work of the famous composer Bernard Herrmann, who completed the soundtrack literally on the eve of his death.
Despite the controversy over the conflicting morals of the script and censorship issues that accompanied the release of the film, “Taxi Driver” won the main prize in Cannes and was nominated for 4 Academy Awards. He consistently makes the list of the best American films and continues to inspire filmmakers, including Tarantino and Fincher. And the recent “Joker” by Todd Phillips can be considered a full-fledged homage to Scorsese’s film.
Film screenings in Belarus are organized by Visual and Performing Arts Centre “ART Corporation”.
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