Who can deny that film students, aficionados, and filmmakers will study the work of Martin Scorsese for generations to come? He remains part of a select group of filmmakers that emerged (from film schools and circles) in the ’60s and ’70s and took the industry by storm. In his new video, Vimeo user Antonios Papantoniou crafts a 10-minute study of the director’s camera work.
Papantoniou’s focus in the study is “Cape Fear,” which he (contentiously) claims is “the director’s final masterpiece and marks his last collaboration with De Niro where the actor gives his final landmark performance.”
We’ll avoid commenting too much on that bold statement (not to mention that “Casino” came after “Cape Fear”) — though feel free to share your own thoughts in the comments — and skip to Papantoniou’s thesis argument on camera use in the film. “The director creates hyper violent images by using ultra quick shots, unsettling angles and zooms in order to permeate the audience’s psyche.”
Say what you will about his assessment of “Cape Fear” as Scorsese’s last great work, Papantoniou supports his theory on the camerawork with an effective (and very interesting, when you see it right there) scrolling shot by shot tracker. Playing in real time beside a three minute and 56 second scene (wherein De Niro’s Max Cady is ambushed by three men), the tracker counts off all 54 shots used in the sequence, broadcasting the camera technique used in each and the duration of each shot, down to the number of frames. It’s a pretty impressive piece of analysis. Watch the full shot-by-shot study below.