Filmmaker Martin Scorsese creates exclusive isolation film

Martin Scorsese has made a new film, this time about being in isolation, in a short which was made especially for Lockdown Culture with Mary Beard.  The film sees Martin explore what lockdown has meant to him, self-shot by the award-winning filmmaker. It will premiere in the final episode of Lockdown Culture with Mary Beard on Thursday 28th May at 7pm on BBC Two. In addition to Martin Scorsese, Director Lee Daniels will also feature, explaining why he believes the current shutdown in Hollywood could be a radical creative opportunity for filmmakers.

The final episode of this run of Front Row Late, retitled Lockdown Culture with Mary Beard will also feature artists Gillian Wearing and Michael Landy with their first collaboration in over twenty years, photographer Don McCullin reflecting on a career spent risking his own life,  and  comedian and host of The Guilty Feminist podcast Deborah Frances-White and eminent statistician Professor David Spiegelhalter. It concludes a starry run of Front Row Late, the BBC’s flagship arts programme, which became Lockdown Culture with Mary Beard when the UK went in to quarantine as part of BBC Arts’ Culture in Quarantine initiative which has sought to keep arts alive in the homes of the British public during lockdown.  

Throughout the run, the series has featured brand new creative offerings to help inspire the public whilst they’re stuck at home. Some of the world’s most influential artistic talent have taken part including Margaret Atwood and her sister with a homespun puppet show created at their kitchen table, sculptor Antony Gormley on a state of isolation and creativity and Icelandic-Danish visual artist, Olafur Eliasson, in a debate about nature and art and Kwame Kwei-Armah with Antonio Pappano and Juliet Stevenson on why theatre matters.

This is not to mention an exclusive monologue told through the voice of the Covid-19 virus from 2019’s Booker Prize winner, Bernardine Evaristo, the exclusive John Donne poem readings by both Dame Helen Mirren and actor Emma Thompson, as well as a discussion about the power of poetry during a pandemic with Game of Thrones actress Emilia Clarke, poet Lemn Sissay and historian David Olusoga.

The programme has seen Mary Beard move from presenter to chief engineer, camera woman to makeup artist, welcoming some of the biggest names in the arts to her programme as they explore their lockdown experiences and will return to BBC Two in the Autumn.

Talking about his experience in lockdown, Martin Scorsese said: “What I look forward to in the future is carrying with me what I have been forced to learn in these circumstances. It is the essential. The people you love. Being able to take care of them and be with them as much as you can.”

Commenting on the final episode of this run, Mary Beard said:”Martin Scorsese makes a wonderful end to the series. We see him at home, thinking about lockdown through the lens of classic movies, like Hitchcock’s The Wrong Man. But what’s really clever is that this great Hollywood luminary also gets us to look at Hitchcock again and afresh through the lens of our current predicament. I was absolutely over the moon when he agreed to do it for us. It feels a bit like hosting a little premiere! And it all contributes to a pretty amazing finale.

What Scorsese has to say fits very much with the style of the series. When we started we were facing the practical question of whether we could actually launch a programme from my study. But we soon came to realise that there was a really important project here, and there were a lot of big names, like Scorsese, who were happy to come on board. We wanted to show that arts and culture aren’t just a comfort in times like this (though of course they are) but that times like this can help us take a fresh look at culture, and see things with new eyes”.

Made by BBC Studios, watch Lockdown Culture with Mary Beard, Episode 7, Thursday 28th May 7pm BBC Two and BBC iPlayer

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