Guillermo del Toro defends Martin Scorsese after controversial essay

The Shape of Water director wasn’t a fan of a new essay slamming Scorsese, saying, “If God offered to shorten my life to lengthen Scorsese’s, I’d take the deal.”

Martin Scorsese is the subject of a highly controversial new essay in The Critic, which claims the Oscar-winning director isn’t nearly as talented as many cinephiles make him out to be.

The play has drawn attention for disses such as “Scorsese lazily committed himself to mafia picture director as his primary calling” and its dismissal of Scorsese as an “unequal talent”. The essay also makes unsubstantiated claims such as “no studio dares say the word ‘no'” to the director, who famously spent much of his career struggling to get funding for his films.

The article sparked much outrage in the film community, but few responded with as much passion as Guillermo del Toro. The ‘Nightmare Alley’ director took to Twitter on Friday to criticize the essay and defend Scorsese’s legacy as an artist and advocate for cinema.

“I very, very rarely post anything contradictory here,” del Toro wrote, “but the mass of misunderstandings, sloppy inaccuracies, and hostile adjectives unsupported by factual justification is offensive, cruel, and malicious. This article got them traffic, but at what cost?”

He continued, “To be clear, if God offered to shorten my life in order to lengthen Scorsese’s, I would take the deal. This man understands cinema. Defend cinema. Embodies cinema. He has always fought for art and against industry. He was never tamed and has a permanent place in history.”

Del Toro was particularly disturbed by the essay’s refusal to deal in good faith with Scorsese’s work. Instead, he felt the author was simply complaining rather than arguing with actual ideas.

“Most of the article is akin to blaming Picasso for ‘getting the perspective wrong’ or Gauguin for being ‘garish,'” he wrote. “If you attack those cornerstones, you should lay it out – you’re dissecting the work and building your position – and not just giving an opinion with ‘slamming’ adjectives.”

Ultimately, del Toro’s dislike for the essay was so strong that he became concerned about the future of popular culture as a whole.

“When I read articles like this. Aligned with one of the kindest and wisest forces, I feel the tremors of an impending cultural collapse,” he wrote. “And I’m like, ‘What for?’ … and find myself at a loss.”

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Lindsay Lowe

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