Belgium's prestigious Film Fest Gent celebrates its 40th anniversary edition with a focus on American Indepent cinema, a large-scale Martin Scorsese exhibition and numerous film music events.
To mark the occasion, the Festival has asked Martin Scorsese to pay tribute to the artist responsible for one of cinema's most iconic images.
"At some point back in the 70s, I came across a book of paintings called Rock Dreams. I started thumbing through the pages and I was taken aback. Here were the heroes of rock and roll, blues and country, past and present, in settings that encapsulated their mythical auras and that preserved the danger of their music. This is something that’s been lost, I think, over the years. Even in the 70s, the music – the best of it – felt ominous, sometimes menacing, and so did many of the people who made it. Hank Williams is now officially recognized as a great artist, one of the greatest singers and songwriters we’ve ever had. When you see the image of him in Rock Dreams, you feel the wild instability that was inseparable from the genius.
When we decided on the poster art for Taxi Driver, we went to the man who had created Rock Dreams. He understood exactly what we wanted and he not only delivered it but surpassed it – he knew the character of Travis Bickle inside out, his stance, his environment, and – most importantly – his eyes. I started and ended the picture with Travis’s eyes, watching, sensitive instruments that registered any potential enemies. Again, he knew where the danger was.
People often tell me how much they love the Taxi Driver poster. I always tell them that there was only one man for the job. His name was Guy Peellaert."
—Martin Scorsese, July 23 2013.