Why Is Martin Scorsese Always Looking Down On Us?

The master filmmaker has a predilection for artful overhead shots, and this comprehensive video essay brings them all together.

Why Is Martin Scorsese Always Looking Down On Us?

WHAT: “Martin Scorsese // God’s Point of View,” a video essay highlighting one of the Goodfellas director’s preferred method’s of shooting.

WHO: Videographer Jorge Luengo Ruiz.

WHY WE CARE: One of the most striking elements from the trailer for Martin Scorsese’s forthcoming film Silence, aside from Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver’s distracting accents, is an overhead shot of three priests descending a marble staircase. As it turns out, this is one of the most common tools in the master director’s box, and something he uses in all of his movies. Like the recent supercut that highlighted Wes Anderson’s penchant for centering, this video essay reveals the many different ways Scorsese has used the overhead shot since his first film in 1967, Who’s That Knocking at My Door? As the title of the piece, “God’s Point of View,” suggests, this technique might convey either simple omniscience or an element of judgement.

Watch the video below, and look underneath for a list of all the films depicted.

  • Who’s That Knocking at My Door? (1967)
  • Boxcar Bertha (1972)
  • Mean Streets (1973)
  • Taxi Driver (1976)
  • New York, New York (1977)
  • Raging Bull (1980)
  • The King of Comedy (1982)
  • After Hours (1985)
  • The Color of Money (1986)
  • The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)
  • New York Stories (1989)
  • Goodfellas (1990)
  • Cape Fear (1991)
  • The Age of Innocence (1993)
  • Casino (1995)
  • Kundun (1997)
  • Bringing Out the Dead (1999)
  • Gangs of New York (2002)
  • The Aviator (2004)
  • The Departed (2006)
  • Shutter Island (2010)
  • Hugo (2011)
  • The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
  • Silence (2016)

About the author

Joe Berkowitz is a writer and staff editor at Fast Company. He has also written for The Awl, Rolling Stone, McSweeney's, and Salon.

More

Video