disturbing images of food are not the only feature of
contemporary cinema's cuisine. Meals, for instance, play an
unusually dramatic part in many of Martin Scorsese's films.
GOODFELLAS (20th Anniversary Edition) [Blu-ray], a brutal mafia killing is followed by an
alarmingly normal Italian-style meal, served by the director's
own mother, Catherine Scorsese. And one of the most sensuous and
simultaneously menacing of all food images in modern cinema
occurs during a prison scene, as the mafiosi prepare their
ritual pasta sauce. The boss (Paul Sorvino), we learn in
voice-over, while seeing a massive close-up of chubby fingers at
work, ' had this wonderful system for doing the garlic. He
used a razor and he used to slice it so thin that it used to
liquefy in the pan.' Later, the central figure's drug-fuelled
paranoia is signalled by his obsession with the meatballs and
tomato sauce he's cooking as the FBI move in. 'Keep and eye on
the sauce and watch the helicopters', is almost his last order
before the Feds arrive. Throughout GOODFELLAS, the
exacting domesticity of Italian cuisine serves to highlight the
terrifying normality of these mobsters.
The story was based on thirty
years in the true life story of Henry Hill and his crew who
were famous for robbing the airport, especially the
Lufthansa heist. Joe Pesci won Best Supporting Actor in his
memorable portrayal of real life gangster, Tommy DeSimone.
Pesci makes "Do I amuse you?" into the four most frightening
words ever uttered on screen.
For these Italian-American subjects, Scorsese drew on his own
memories and family tradition (The Scorsese Family Cookbook (G. K. Hall Reference (Large Print))
was published in 1996, shortly before his mother's death.)