Martin Scorsese's open letter to his 14-year-old daughter Francesca

The film director's letter sees him excited about the future of film – and her career in movies. Talk about pressure, says Simon Usborne

In an interview in 2012, Martin Scorsese discussed the enlivening effects of children on an older father (the director is 71, his daughter Francesca is 14): "If you're in your sixties and you're with the kid every day, you're dealing with the mind of a child. You start playing and getting into the fantasy of the kid, so you make up even crazier stories and suddenly we're making this movie! She's a life-saver!"

That movie was Hugo, the 2011 family epic. Earlier, when Francesca was five, Scorsese, who has two grown-up daughters from earlier marriages, said he had starred in the animated film Shark Tale because his wife, Helen, had told him to "make a film that your kid can see for once!"

But as Scorsese gives birth to his latest creation, The Wolf of Wall Street, he has written an open letter to his youngest child that suggests family-dinner conversations have become rather more serious since he lent his voice to a pufferfish called Sykes.

"Dearest Francesca," he begins, in a letter published on the website of the Italian news magazine, L'Espresso. "I'm writing this letter to you about the future. I'm looking at it through the lens of my world. Through the lens of cinema, which has been at the centre of that world."

There follows a lecture about the transformation of an industry that still rewards Scorsese handsomely, well past his retirement age. "I've realised that the idea of cinema that I grew up with... is coming to a close… In the future, you'll probably see less and less of what we recognize as cinema on multiplex screens and more and more of it in smaller theatres, online, and, I suppose, in spaces and circumstances that I can't predict." But change is good, Scorsese adds. In "this revolution in movie-making, there is one important thing to remember: the tools don't make the movie, you make the movie."

He concludes: "There are no shortcuts to anything. I'm not saying that everything has to be difficult. I'm saying that the voice that sparks you is your voice – that's the inner light, as the Quakers put it… That's you. That's the truth.

All my love, Dad."

It is not clear why Scorsese addresses Francesca now, nor why he does so publicly, nor why he chose L'Espresso as his outlet (his agent did not answer these questions yesterday). But by writing an open letter, a medium traditionally reserved for campaigners and sparring pop stars (see Sinead O'Connor vs Miley Cyrus), the director does two things: he reveals to us all his perhaps unsurprising views on the state of cinema; but he also appears to assume that Francesca will follow him into the industry (as if having a dad that successful wasn't already potentially quite daunting for a teenager).

Scorsese's words are touching nonetheless, and his love for his daughter is clear. But one hopes that in future correspondence he might consult the late F Scott Fitzgerald. The Great Gatsby author was fond of writing in private to his daughter, Scottie, who he also nicknamed "Pie" and "Egg". In one letter, dated 1933 when Scottie was 11 and away at summer camp, he is chatty and endearingly mischievous. He then ends the message, which much later became public and now features in the new book, Letters of Note, with lists of "things to worry about" and "things not to worry about". The second list includes dolls, popular opinion, insects and, perhaps most usefully… parents.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: One of the world's leading suppliers and manuf...

Recruitment Genius: Multiple Apprentices Required

£6240 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Apprentices are required to join a privat...

Sauce Recruitment: HR Manager

£40000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: This is an exciting opportunity for a HR...

Ashdown Group: Interim HR Manager - 3 Month FTC - Henley-on-Thames

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established organisation oper...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee