Martin Scorsese’s Lost 1970 Vietnam War Protest Doc STREET SCENES Has Appeared on YouTube

Martin Scorsese

In 1970, a young Martin Scorsese directed a documentary called Street Scenes, which focuses on two different demonstrations against the Vietnam War. The documentary was said to have been misplaced, but it’s apparently been discovered and shared on YouTube.

For those of you movie geeks who are interested in Scorsese as a filmmaker, and interested in seeing what he was doing as an NYU student, this is a must-watch. He worked with other movie students in the movie and one of those students was Oliver Stone, who is one of the camera operators.

Here’s the synopsis for the doc:

In the late Spring of 1970, nationwide protests against the war in Vietnam focused in the Wall Street area of New York City and ultimately in a major anti-war demonstration in Washington, D.C. A group of New York University film students documented the demonstrations as they happened in both cities. Later, in New York, the massive amount of black and white and color 16mm footage was edited into this important record of the day by day events. The extended final scene, shot by Edward Summer in a hotel room in Washington, D.C., is a spontaneous conversation among Martin Scorsese, Harvey Keitel, Jay Cocks and Verna Bloom who, along with a large group of NYU students, found themselves frustrated and perplexed by the events and hopeful that the protests would result in change.

When previously talking about working on Street Scenes, Scorsese said:

“I edited throughout the night over a period of ten days, trying to give a formal structure to the ensemble, swearing that I would not let myself embark into a political film if I could not direct it from one end to the other. When I showed the film to the participants, they hated it: they didn’t find that it was contestable enough. They felt betrayed, they didn’t recognize what they had lived through. However, I believe that the film was honest: I showed the sad reality, the anger, the frustration, the irresponsibility, the general sentiment of powerlessness.”


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