Director and Editor: Martin Scorsese and Thelma Schoonmaker
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Level: Undergraduate
Division: The New School for Public Engagement
School: School of Media Studies
Department: Communication
Course Number: NFLM 3011
Course Format: Seminar
Location: Online
Permission Required: No
  • Media Studies
  • Film & Video History, Theory & Criticism
  • Directing
The 35+ year collaboration between director Martin Scorsese and editor Thelma Schoonmaker has produced some of the most iconic and lauded American films of all time. As a devoted student and fan of the cinema, Scorsese repeatedly returns to themes of morality, guilt, corruption, and crime, and often makes reference to classic Gangster and Western films of the past. His films owe much to their form – making use of slow motion, long tracking shots, and rapidly edited MOS montage sequences – to Schoonmaker’s distinctive editing. Schoonmaker edited Scorsese’s first film, Who's That Knocking at My Door (1967) when he was a student at NYU. It was there that she also met filmmaker Michael Wadleigh , and later earned her first Academy Award for editing his documentary Woodstock (1970), a film which was noted for its innovative use of superimpositions and freeze frames in the non-fiction mode. She is considered to be among the pantheon of great editors – a field that unlike many in the film industry, has been dominated by women including - Dede Allen, Verna Fields, Anne V. Coates, Dorothy Spencer, and Sally Menke: Students are expected to watch (and write about) one film each week outside of class: Raging Bull (1980), Goodfellas (1990), The Departed (2006), Casino (1995), and The Aviator (2004). Notably, Taxi Driver (1976) was not edited by Schoonmaker and differences in the work will also be examined. Class readings will include contemporary reviews of films, and essays by film historians and scholars. This is one of three five-week courses on cinema auteurs and director/editor collaborations that were particularly influential in developing the art of editing and complement each other when taken sequentially.
Course Open to: Degree Students