A movie location scout on why “real” New York no longer exists:
“For decades, film-makers came to New York City not for a generic urban backlot set, but to capture the essence of the city. Consider Taxi Driver and Annie Hall. Despite being made less than a year apart (1976 and 1977, respectively), their competing portrayals of New York couldn’t be more different. Whereas Scorsese’s New York is a simmering cauldron of filth, neglect and despair, Allen’s is a playground for the upper-crust intelligentsia and middle-aged hippies.
And yet both are valid representations of New York at the time. Each director simply focused on and exaggerated the elements of the city that pertained most to his story.
Exaggeration has always been a fundamental aspect of film-making. You’ll often hear a director or production designer complaining that a particular neighbourhood ‘does not look enough like itself’, and making various cosmetic changes…
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