Martin Scorsese urges you to go see Nightmare Alley: “Guillermo del Toro deserves it”

Martin Scorsese implores you to go see Nightmare Alley
Kerry Hayes/2021 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved / Paramount Pictures UK

The director loved the film and regrets that it does not have more spectators.

A great director but also a great lover of cinema, Martin Scorsese recently defended Guillermo del Toro, or rather his new film Nightmare Alley, recommending that the general public take the time to see the new adaptation of the eponymous 1946 novel by del Toro and Kim Morgan.

Nightmare Alley: Guillermo del Toro signs a bewitching black fable [critique]

In an editorial published by the Los Angeles Times, the director of Freedmen and wolf of wall street indeed praised this film “particular” of which the “Powerful” and “emotion” resonated within him. Scorsese, who said to himself “impressed and moved” by the feature film, was then surprised at the few entries recorded for the drama carried by Bradley Cooper and Cate Blanchett. In France alone, Nightmare Alley gathered 142,309 spectators after three weeks of distribution, against 862,075 over the same period for The Shape of Water, his previous film (2019). An injustice that Scorsese explains for two reasons: the terminology used to talk about the film and the pandemic.

“I’d bet the term ‘noir’ popped up in most Nightmare Alley reviews and comments, and for good reason. The characters are all haunted, many are doomed, and the film is based on a novel with the genre of wild labyrinthine plot that is a hallmark of film noir. Moreover, the novel has already been adapted once, just after its publication in 1946, and the earlier version directed by Edmund Goulding has long been considered a classic of the genre. But the term “noir” has been used so often and so brazenly that it sounds more like a perfume than anything else, and it just might lead someone looking for information about the film in the wrong direction. “Might expect a film noir ‘pastiche’, as there have been many. That doesn’t do justice to Guillermo and Kim Morgan’s adaptation,” explains the director, before adding that “COVID-19 has also been extremely hard on cinema in general.”

However, Martin Scorsese asserts that Nightmare Alley deserves to be seen, both for its adaptation by Guillermo del Toro and for its resemblance to current society. For him, del Toro does not pay homage to the novel, and on the contrary makes it a faithful adaptation, as “an alarm bell”. “Most of the film is set in the 1930s, and it seems to have been born out of the bitterness and despair of depression: you can feel it in the images and in the body language of the actors. All the characters in this film feel real pain, a sense of spiritual desolation rooted in everyday life. It’s not just about the “style” or the “visual”, however exquisite the film. It’s about the total commitment of Guillermo to the material, his willingness to bring his vision to life with his production designer, costume designer, cinematographer and incredible cast, led by Bradley Cooper and Cate Blanchett, they work together to create a universe with no way out from the American past, and they do it through and through, through. In that sense, the film is more true to the animating spirit of film noir than the many “tributes” that have been made over the years. years and who still are today. Guillermo speaks e certainly of his time and addresses it, but he does so in the idiom of a bygone era, and the urgency and despair of then are superimposed on the urgency and despair of today in a rather disturbing way.”

Martin Scorsese: “Cinema is devalued to the rank of content”

To conclude, Scorsese invites its readers to go to theaters to view Nightmare Alley without waiting. “If you’ve decided to categorize ‘Nightmare Alley’ as ‘noir’ or otherwise, I urge you to take a closer look. And if you’ve decided to drop it, for whatever reason, reconsider. In fact, what I’m trying to say is that a filmmaker like Guillermo, who offers us films made with so much love and passion, doesn’t just need our support: he deserves it. “ he ends, because as he said a little earlier: Nightmare Alley is for him “Troubling, yet uplifting at the same time. That’s what art can do.”

Released in France on January 19, Nightmare Alley is directed by Guillermo del Toro, who is writing the screenplay with Kim Morgan. Lasting 110 minutes, it is screened exceptionally in black and white from Wednesday January 26 to Tuesday February 8 at the Max Linder cinema in Paris. Maybe to see if this film noir is really that black.

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