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NOTES FROM UNDERGROUND

  And, indeed, I will ask on my own account here, an idle question: which is better—cheap happiness or exalted sufferings? Well, which is better?---Fyodor Dostoevsky ---Notes from Underground There are certain people of whom it is difficult to say anything which will at once throw them into relief—in other words, describe them graphically in their typical characteristics. These are they who are generally known as “commonplace people,” and this class comprises, of course, the immense majority of mankind. Authors, as a rule, attempt to select and portray types rarely met with in their entirety, but these types are nevertheless more real than real life itself. For instance, when the whole essence of an ordinary person’s nature lies in his perpetual and unchangeable commonplaceness; and when in spite of all his endeavours to do something out of the common, this person ends, eventually, by remaining in his unbroken line of routine—. I think such an individual really does become a type of hi

TAXI DRIVER (1976)




 

"An alienated man, unable to establish normal relationships, becomes a loner and wanderer, and assigns himself to rescue an innocent young girl from a life that offends his prejudices."


This Martin Scorsese film classic (screenplay by Paul Schrader, superlative jazz score by Bernard Herrmann)  is easily one of the top 10 films of American cinema. 

Schrader once said that he wrote Taxi Driver script for himself as a therapy for the issues he was going through at the time (After divorce ending up in hospital , he said, right there he realized he had not talked to anybody in three weeks) .

Taxi Driver combines elements of film noir, horror and drama film genres and it is one of the best examinations of loneliness and alienation in urban society seen on the big screen.



BERNARD HERRMANN - I STILL CAN'T SLEEP - TAXI DRIVER



"On every street, in every city, there's a nobody who dreams of becoming a somebody"

Historically, the film appeared after a decade of war in Vietnam, and after the disgraceful Watergate crisis and President Nixon's resignation.
"It has become a critical tradition to muse on how much has changed in New York since Travis Bickle roamed the night-time streets in his checker cab." (Well, we may be getting back there again)




Travis Bickle  is a Vietnam war veteran  with deep scars left in his soul ; He is young lonely man who does night-time shifts in his checker cab roaming the streets  of the  "loneliest place on earth"  because he cannot sleep. 

TRAVIS (V.O.)
Twelve hours of work and I still cannot sleep. The days dwindle on forever and do not end.
All my life needed was a sense of direction, a sense of someplace togo. I do not believe one should devote his life to morbid self-attention, but should become a person like other people.

 He encounters a 12-year-old prostitute named Iris (Jodie Foster), controlled by a pimp named Sport (Harvey Keitel) and assigns himself to rescue an innocent young girl from a life that offends his prejudices.
This central story is surrounded by many smaller ones, all building to the same theme.

Almost entire film (except few scenes that were added by Scorsese himself)  was shut from the Travis point of view , the world as seen by Travis is what the centerpiece of the story is , otherwise seen from other perspective the story will look different, Travis will look different. 

De Niro's performance is captivating and fascinating to watch (In preparation for the film De Niro drove cab for few weeks in NYC ) . His target-practice 'You talkin' to me?' monologue before a mirror remains one of the best known sequences in film history

Film won Palm d'Or in Cannes 1976 , Hollywood of course did not  have "capacity" and "depth" to recognize the greatness of this masterpiece.




"Are you talkin' to me? Well, I'm the only one here"

It is the last line, "Well, I'm the only one here," that never gets quoted. It is the truest line in the film. Travis Bickle exists in "Taxi Driver" as a character with a desperate need to make some kind of contact somehow--to share or mimic the effortless social interaction he sees all around him, but does not participate in.
This utter aloneness is at the center of "Taxi Driver," one of the best and most powerful of all films, and perhaps it is why so many people connect with it even though Travis Bickle would seem to be the most alienating of movie heroes. We have all felt as alone as Travis. Most of us are better at dealing with it.

https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/great-movie-taxi-driver-1976

 



Loneliness has followed me my whole life, everywhere.
In bars, in cars, sidewalks, stores, everywhere. There’s no escape. I’m God’s lonely man. —Travis Bickle 


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