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In college, I took a film class called “Celluloid Salvation.” In an exam on TAXI DRIVER I wrote this: “[The film] opens on a gritty film-noir note, with a taxi driving in slow motion over a steaming manhole on a dirty city street. As Travis (Robert De Niro) drives through the neighborhood, an oppressive rain obscures his vision, blurring the windshield and transforming the street into a haze of neon. This is a New York of smoke, grime, and loneliness.”

I was young. Melodramatic though it may be, those impressions do hold true. TAXI DRIVER is one of the most nightmarish visions of New York on film: and for today’s 20-somethings, a city they may never have seen. Travis Bickle’s city is a hopeless one, where emotional connection is impossible despite so many millions living on top of each other. His search for connection and a higher purpose ends in a senseless, overwhelming bloodbath; and his antics leading up to that climax have become entrenched in the pop-cultural canon. If you haven’t seen it before, you’ll understand why Scorsese’s drama became an instant classic and remains one of the most essential American films of all time.

TAXI DRIVER (1976) DIR. MARTIN SCORSESE [114 min] 35 mm

Somerville Theatre
Friday, April 11 at 8:00
Playing as a double feature with: KLUTE at 10:00

Part of the Somerville Theatre’s Centennial Repertory Series

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