Martin Scorsese Says The 'Clouds Lifted' On Cinema's 'Dark Days' When He Watched Tar

Unless you're lucky enough to escape the constant cycle of discourse, you're probably aware that a lot of cinephiles are really concerned about the future of American cinema. Fans and industry people alike are perpetually despairing over what has become of Hollywood — and not just because of all the ding-dang superhero movies. There are bigger crises afoot: A long-suffering box office, concerning studio agendas, the bleak future of movie theaters, and then there's that special pain we all feel when we've seen too many mediocre movies in a row and begin to (overdramatically) fear for the future of an entire art form. Which is why it's so spectacularly heartening to find yourself sitting in a theater, still catching your breath because you've been absolutely blown away by a new film.

Face it, not every trip to the theater is gonna melt your brain or even tug on your heartstrings. So when something worth raving about rolls around, why keep your mouth shut about it? Sooner or later, everyone becomes that one chatty friend who can't shut up about their new favorite movie — and it turns out legendary directors are just like the rest of us. Just last night, Martin Scorsese used his time onstage at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards to sing the praises of a movie to a room full of people. Just like me at Christmas dinner! Except, in his case, it was the appropriate venue and a very captivated audience.

How TÁR lifted the clouds

While presenting the Best Picture award to "TÁR" at the awards ceremony, Scorsese took a moment to voice his thoughts on Todd Field's film about a famous composer's fall from grace. For him, watching Lydia Tár's life fall apart "lifted the clouds" on cinema's dark days. Here's some of what Scorsese had to say (via IndieWire):

"For so long now, so many of us see films that pretty much let us know where they're going. I mean, they take us by the hand, and even if it's disturbing at times, sort of comfort us along the way that it will be all OK by the end. Now, this is insidious, as one can get lulled into this, and ultimately get used to it. Leading those of us who've experienced cinema in the past — as much more than that — to become despairing of the future of the art form, especially for younger generations.

But that's on dark days. The clouds lifted when I experienced Todd's film, "TÁR." What you've done, Todd, is that the very fabric of the movie you created doesn't allow this. All the aspects of cinema and the film that you've used, attest to this."

'It's a real high-wire act'

Martin Scorsese, one of our greatest living filmmakers, certainly doesn't need me to hype up his speech, but I'm gonna do it anyway: The man is spitting facts. Beyond its masterclass performance from Cate Blanchett, "TÁR" puts Field's masterful direction on full display. No wonder it reinvigorated Scorsese's hope for cinema — it's an incredibly thoughtful piece of art that's never concerned with spoon-feeding or comforting its audience along the way. (And on the note of expectations, there's no way you can guess where the film ends up.)

Scorsese's gushing didn't stop there. The auteur he is, he made sure to delve into specifics, noting how "the shift in locations alone do what cinema does best, which is to reduce space and time to what they are, which is nothing." Directly addressing Field, Scorsese added:

"You make it so that we exist in her head. We experience only through her perception. The world is her. Time, chronology, and space, become the music that she lives by. And we don't know where the film's going. We just follow the character on her strange, upsetting road to her even stranger final destination. Now, what you've done, Todd, it's a real high-wire act, as all of this is conveyed through a masterful mise-en-scène, as controlled, precise, dangerous, precipitous angles, and edges geometrically chiseled into a wonderful 2:3:5 aspect ratio of frame compositions."

"TÁR" is no stranger to high praise — critics have been raving about the film since it premiered at the Venice International Film Festival and it's gearing up to be the Best Picture contender at the Academy Awards. But coming from the mouth of Martin Scorsese, the adoration probably hits a little different.