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March 11-17. 4:15, 7, 9:40 p.m. Brattle Theatre. $9. Tickets available at theater or www.brattlefilm.org.
It has been 25 years since Martin Scorsese unleashed his third classic, coming only two years after Taxi Driver proved that the Italian-American movie-maker was no fluke. Robert DeNiro, the star of that movie, appeared again as a powerful figure on the brink of insanity, this time as Jake LaMotta, a real-life former middleweight boxing champion whose power had a tendency to also manifest itself outside the ring, and who followed up boxing with stints in the mob, prison, and stand-up comedy. In honor of this occasion, the Brattle Theater is celebrating with a week of Raging Bull, which won Oscars both for leading actor DeNiro and for best editing. The black and white film is notoriously hard-hitting for its portrayal of LaMotta’s abusive relationships with his wife, played by Cathy Moriarty, and his brother, played by Joe Pesci. Raging Bull also marked the return of star, director, and screenwriter Paul Schrader from Taxi Driver, and shares much of that film’s deep exploration of the coincidences of power, sex, violence, and of one man’s tragic self-destruction. Raging Bull is one of the great films of the ’80s, but it follows the ’70s traditions of gritty action, fantastic performances, and deep introspection into violence.
—Christopher A. Kukstis
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