Taika Waititi has been hailed as one of the most original artistic voices in the landscape of modern cinema, known for his fantastic works such as Hunt for the Wilderpeople and What We Do in the Shadows. Starting out as a comedian, Waititi developed his cinematic talents by drawing inspiration from pioneers like Martin Scorsese and Terrence Malick.
Apart from making his uniquely whimsical comedy films, Waititi has also ventured into the big leagues by directing Marvel films. After the release of Thor: Ragnarok, it was predicted that Waititi might just change Marvel’s direction forever. As of now, he is currently in the post-production process for a new Thor film which is set to come out in 2022.
Although Waititi considered Scorsese to be one of his primary cinematic influences, he entered into a public disagreement with the filmmaker after his infamous comments on Marvel which sparked outrage among Marvel fans and superhero filmmakers. Going against Scorsese’s claims that Marvel films aren’t cinema, Waititi said: “Of course it’s cinema. It’s at the movies. It’s in cinemas…near you”,
While naming some of his favourite films of all time, Waititi chose Scorsese’s 1974 gem Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore which starred Ellen Burstyn as a single mother who sets out on the elusive journey for a better life with her son after she is widowed. Waititi called it a “wonderful film”, ranking it alongside other classics such as Terrence Malick’s Badlands.
“Solo mum struggling to find love and giver her son the best life she can,” Waititi added before claiming it was an essential cinematic experience. According to Scorsese, the first cut of Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore was more than three hours long but it was cut down to 112 minutes which disappointed the filmmaker because “so much character stuff thrown out”.
In an interview, Scorsese clarified: “Alice was more rehearsed and improvisational than Mean Streets had been. The reason was—Ellen [Burstyn] asked me to do the picture for her… Some people have said that Alice is a movie about women’s liberation, but I think that’s the wrong emphasis. It’s about human liberation”.