Select Page

This is the second Scorsese film we’ve shown to our class this semester. The first was Gangs of New York, also starring recent Oscar-winner Daniel Day-Lewis, though in a very different role — or is it?

In a way, as different as these films seem, they share a fascination not only with old New York but with a sort of tribal violence bred by class stratification in American culture — as played out in the nineteenth-century city, itself a product and symptom of modern capitalism.

And as Cyrus pointed out in his last entry, about the connections between this film and William Wyler’s adaptation of James’s Washington Square, Scorsese also sets out, in this film, to examine “the emotional violence that lies at the heart of a tradition that readers tend to associate with genteel behavior: the novel of manners.”

In other words, watch for all the red at the end of the trailer, and pay attention to the relationship between color — especially the color red — and the codes of polite society in the rest of the film.

The simmering sexuality in Age if Innocence is ultimately repressed; all Scorsese’s unfolding flowers, then, may have more to do with (figurative) bloodstains.