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Lecture 9

ENGB70H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 9: Paul Schrader, Shooting Script, Anomie

Course Code
A Maurice

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Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese, 1976)
Travis Bickle’s New York
-Subjective vision/”internalized” narrative
oThough objective and subjective shots are used, the cinematography, voice-over
narration and production design all reinforce our sense that we are “inside Travis’
Elements of Pre-Production
-Screenplay by Paul Schrader
oA screenplay typically goes through several revisions/versions between original
draft screenplay and final script
-Shooting script
oFinal version; used in production; more detailed, ordered in terms of exact scenes,
camera set-ups; still, changes often made in production and editing for final
version of film
View from a Taxi
-Meandering narrative, floating camera work
-Taxi driver – drives around and around, not getting anywhere
-Travis has “no direction”, s directed by others, needs “something to do”
Combining Classic Hollywood and Contemporary Moment (1970’s)
-Taxi Driver very much of its moment, including references to contemporary and
historical events shaping the period:
oVietnam War
oPolitical Assassinations
oRacial tensions and urban unrest
-Scorsese influenced by both Hollywood classics and the work of New Wave filmmakers
of the ‘60s and ‘70s
-In style and well as themes, the film makes references to classic Hollywood films
oWesterns (The Searchers)
Re-imagining Genres
-“General displacement” and “Generic Reflexivity”
oTravis as a kind of “urban cowboy” – anti-hero of the Western displaced into the
city and the 1970’s
oHis taxi is his “horse”
oMale violence and fine line between hero and outlaw (or sociopath)
oGun purchase: focuses Travis, focuses narrative
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