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Martin Scorsese Feted With Berlinale’s Honorary Golden Bear For Lifetime Achievement

Martin Scorsese was presented with the Berlin Film Festival’s Honorary Golden Bear for Lifetime Achievement on Tuesday evening, with old friend German director Wim Wenders paying a warm personal tribute.

In his tribute speech, Wenders described his old friend as “the reigning king of cinema” and said that over half a century of directing, Scorsese had become a trademark, almost brand.

“You could safely go into a movie theatre, sit down and know that with this next Martin Scorsese Picture, that was your your credit formula Marty, you were going to see a masterful film that would markedly define its time, not more not less,” he said.

He recalled how he and Scorsese had first hooked up while attending the Telluride Film Festival in 1978.

Wenders rescued Scorsese and then girlfriend Isabella Rossellini after he came across them with a flat tire as they were both travelling back to L.A. via a scenic route through Monument Valley, suggested by late Telluride founder Tom Luddy.

Wenders showed a series of black-and-white photos capturing the scene as Scorsese removed the tire from his hire car, only to discover there was no spare.

Wenders ended up driving both parties to Goulding’s Lodge, where John Ford would stay while shooting Westerns, where they were joined by Luddy for the night.

Tears welled up in Scorsese’s eyes as Wenders said: “Dear Marty, I stand in awe that we’re both here in this room now 46 years later.”

“I don’t know what I can say about 50, 60, did you say 70 years of filmmaking?,” said Scorsese when he took to the stage. “What happened?”

The director focused instead on the role film festivals had played in nourishing his career and giving him a community of filmmakers.

Referring to the Berlinale’s place in his trajectory he recalled Brian de Palma’s winning of the Silver Bear for Greetings in 1969.

“It was a very important turning point, for Brian, of course, and by extension for all of us working in low-budget independent pictures in America at the time, and particularly not in Hollywood,” he said.

“It helped open the way for filmmakers like Jim McBride, Phil Kaufman and myself and certainly for Brian and others. It gave us stature, in the sense that the studios started to take us seriously.”

Scorsese stressed the importance of the community of filmmakers he had become part of across his career, saying that the obsessive nature of filmmaking meant it could be a lonely activity.

“You have to be on your own, that’s the lonely part. But it’s so important to remember that even though it’s lonely, that you’re part of a community, that community of people driven by an obsessive love with this art called cinema and the work that we do individually is part of a great ongoing, ultimately endless conversation. endless, endless and timeless.”

Other friends and collaborators at the ceremony included long-time editor Thelma Schoonmaker and Sharon Stone, who was Oscar nominated for her performance in the director’s 1995 film Casino, opposite Robert De Niro.

Scorsese also played tribute to his late German cinematographer Michael Ballhaus, who took credits on a raft of his films – including After Hours, The Last Temptation of Christ, Goodfellas (for which he was Oscar-nominated, Gangs of New York – describing him as a beloved collaborator and dear friend who he missed every day.

“Michael and I met at a point in the early 80s when I was really at a low point in getting pictures made, it was almost impossible. We made this film After Hours. Apparently it’s going to be shown here as a restoration, finally,” he said.

“Working with Michael on that picture, it reenergized me and created me again as a filmmaker, because anything was possible with him.”

Scorsese has been a regular guest at the Berlinale throughout his career, kicking off with Oscar-winning Raging Bull, which played Out of Competition in 1981, followed by Cape Fear, which screened in Competition in 1992; Gangs of New York, which played out of Out of competition in 2003 and returned for a retrospective screening in 2010.

His Rolling Stones concert film Shine a Light opened the Berlinale in 2008 while Shutter Island, played Out of Competition in 2010.

The awards ceremony was followed by a screening of Scorsese’s 2006 crime thriller The Departed starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon and Jack Nicholson.

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