One of the most consistently great filmmakers in American cinema will be celebrated next month at Manship Theatre

The downtown venue hosts four screenings of films from director Martin Scorsese throughout November in celebration of his birthday. Scorsese turns 75 on Nov. 17. 

The screenings start Thursday with the 1980s boxing drama, "Raging Bull," which features Robert De Niro in an Oscar-winning role as Jake LaMotta. Other films to be shown include "Taxi Driver" on Nov. 10, "Mean Streets" on Nov. 18, and "The King of Comedy" on Nov. 30. 

That final film is one Manship Theatre's film programming director Jason Langlois has been trying to show to local audiences for years. 

"I personally love ('The King of Comedy')," Langlois said. "Over the years, the rights to the movie have changed hands. It was hard to track down. I don't think people are as aware of it as some of Scorsese's other works." 

"The King of Comedy" features De Niro as up-and-coming comic Rupert Pupkin. De Niro's character wants nothing more than to get on a late-night talk show, hosted by Jerry Langford (Jerry Lewis), and Pupkin will stop at nothing to get the gig. 

"It's still so relevant," Langlois said of the 1982 dark comedy. "People pull these shenanigans to get fame in ways that aren't traditional. Back then, the concept seemed completely new." 

Langlois and a few co-workers, including an intern from LSU's Film & Media Arts program, collaborated to book the slate of Scorsese screenings. 

"They wanted to learn the ins and outs of booking films here, and I had them research birthdays for all these filmmakers," Langlois said. "It was a way for them to get more involved. It hasn't been a one-man show. We've done screenings like this in the past, with birthday months peppered in. A lot of this was a way to show them how there's more to it than just saying, 'You know what would be cool.' "

Since taking over the film programming, Manship Theatre has screened critical darlings like last year's "Moonlight," Spoof Nights with the Family Dinner Comedy Troupe, indie fare like "Brigsby Bear," and music documentaries. The theater experience itself was upgraded a few years ago with Dolby surround sound, a new projection system and a gigantic screen. 

"I grew up in Austin, Texas, and my parents still live there, and I saw an opportunity here that we could do something like what Alamo Drafthouse does over there," Langlois said. "Movies have always been this universal thing. This is a way to get another audience to our venue, to come see the theater and a good movie for 8 or 9 bucks." 


THE SCREENINGS 

Nov. 2: "Raging Bull" — The 1980 drama about the real-life boxer Jake LaMotta features an Oscar-winning performance by Robert De Niro. Rated R. 

Nov. 10: "Taxi Driver" — De Niro stars as the unstable Vietnam vet Travis Bickle in this 1976 crime drama. The iconic film put Scorsese on the map as a filmmaker to watch. Rated R. 

Nov. 18: "Mean Streets" — Harvey Keitel, De Niro and David Proval star in this slice of life drama about small-time gangsters and crooks trying to make it in New York. De Niro steals the show as Johnny Boy. Rated R. 

Nov. 30: "The King of Comedy" — Scorsese threw audiences for a loop with this 1982 dark comedy. De Niro stars as Rupert Pupkin, an aspiring comic, who wants so badly to be on Jerry Langford's (Jerry Lewis) late-night talk show. Rated PG. 


Happy Birthday Martin Scorsese 

Featuring four film screenings by the acclaimed director 

WHEN: Thursday, Nov. 2; Friday, Nov. 10; Saturday, Nov. 18; Thursday, Nov. 30

WHERE: Manship Theatre, 100 Lafayette St., Baton Rouge 

COST: $8.50 per screening. Student, senior and military discounts available. 

INFO: Visit manshiptheatre.org or call (866) 451-2787. 

Follow Matthew Sigur on Twitter, @MatthewSigur.