There is a scene in Mean Streets where the camera catches DeNiro’s character coming into a bar and then shifts slightly down and to the left before following him over to the right.
There was a film studies professor who taught a course on symbolism in film and used this as a discussion point to ask students what it was supposed to mean – Was it symbolizing that the character had chosen a path of destruction that would lead him spiraling downward? Did it imply that it was at this point where the character actively decided to choose such a path? – eventually the professor was able to get Scorsese to speak to his class.
What did the scene symbolize? Scorsese wanted to get the scene all in one take and there was an exposed beam in the ceiling they had to shoot around. That’s it.