By Karima Rhanem | Morocco TIMES 11/15/2005 | 12:52 am
Marrakech---Taxi Driver's director, Martin Scorsese, who was paid tribute to at the Marrakech International Film festival, has been decorated by King Mohammed VI for his numerous masterpieces.
Received at the Royal Palace in Marrakech on Monday by King Mohammed VI and his younger brother, Prince Moulay Rachid, the US filmmaker was decorated with the Wissam of al Kafaa Al Fikrya, Honour of the Intellectual Merit.
The Marrakech International Film Festival, currently being held in Morocco's red city, on Nov.11-19, is honouring the 63 year-old Scorsese with a retrospective of his work, including the two films he shot on location in Morocco: "The Last Temptation of Christ" and "Kundun."
Scorsese told Morocco Times, earlier on Sunday after a press briefing, that he might reconsider shooting in Morocco after finishing his Japan-set passion project “Silence”.
'Silence' is an adaptation of a Japanese novel by Shusaku Endo. It is the martyrdom-themed tale of two 17th century Portuguese missionaries who return to Japan to minister to Christians, who've been outlawed.
Scorsese admitted he'd wanted to direct the film after 'Gangs Of New York', but got distracted by 'The Aviator' and 'The Departed'.
"I hope it comes together. I've been trying to make the movie for 10 years," Scorsese said at the press conference
The US filmmaker also said he plans to stop directing Hollywood blockbusters and focus on documentaries and short films.
Scorsese added that he was getting old and did not want to spend his time making big pictures demanded by Hollywood studios.
At the festival to promote its new exchange program with the Tribeca Film Institute, Scorsese told Morocco Times that his primary objective in coming to the festival is to meet and share ideas with Moroccan cinema actors.
“I am trying to orient young film students to express their views and desires on the cinema, and I wish to see new films in Morocco that could inspire me one day,” he added.
Scorsese, along with Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami will be offering master classes for 16 young Moroccans and American film students, held, on Nov: 6-20, alongside the Marrakech film festival.
They will be joined by actor Jeffrey Wright and filmmakers from both the US and Morocco to present a series of events which aim at promoting filmmakers from both countries to work together and learn from each other, while learning the filmmaking process. Students will have two weeks of intensive coursework and location shooting in Marrakech. Four students with works-in–progress will benefit from training with an experienced film director or professor.
The trained students will then be able to show their completed short films at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival in New York City.
Peter Scarlet, Tribeca Film Festival Executive Director expressed his satisfaction that two renowned filmmakers accepted to participate in this exchange programme.
“We're especially happy that two of the most influential filmmakers of our time have chosen to lend their efforts to this fledgling enterprise,” said Scarlet.
“They're united by a deep affection and respect for each other's work, and they've both been honored with the prestigious Golden Palm at Cannes,” he added.
Martin Scorsese, who was given the trophy on Friday by famous French actress Catherine Deneuve at the opening ceremony, was the centre of attention for both the Moroccan and foreign press.
Legendary Moroccan folk musicians, Nas el Ghiwane played their 'Ya Sah' song, which inspired the US director in his film, the 'Last temptation of Christ'. Omar Essayed, member of the el Ghiwane group, offered the director a collection of his band's CDs.
Scorsese was pleased to meet el Ghiwane again and said 'I discovered Nas el Ghiwane in 1981 through their Album 'Al Hal'. Their music inspired many of my films,” he said.
He also expressed his gratitude to Morocco for “the help the Kingdom, people and government, offered him to facilitate the direction of his films shot in the North African country,” he said.
"I owe a great deal to Morocco, which has left a lasting impression on my work and my life," he told the opening-night audience on Friday.
Referring indirectly to current political tensions, Scorsese made an impassioned defence of world cinema.
"Now more than ever we need to talk to each other, to listen to each other and understand how we see the world, and cinema is the best medium for doing this," he said.
To honour him, a selection of eight films shot in Morocco, chosen by him, will be featured, including 'Le Grand Jeu', 'La Bandera', 'Transes', 'Epido Re' and 'Kundun', the 'Last temptation of Christ'.
The festival has attracted a fair smattering of European and Asian stars, including Catherine Deneuve, Judi Dench, Terence Stamp, Daniel Day-Lewis, Monica Bellucci, Vincent Cassel, Maggie Cheung and Rebecca Miller.
The festival opened with a screening of Stephen Frears' "Mrs. Henderson Presents" and will close Saturday with Enrico Oldoini's "Thirteen at a Table" (Tredici a tavola).