Paul Schrader
Paul Schrader
Paul Schrader Speaks at Paris Theater

(released 4/16/2023)

Paul Schrader opened a weekend long tribute to Producer Tom Luddy on Friday evening at the Paris Theater. Schrader's 1985 film Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters screened. He introduced the film and later did a Q&A after the screening.  His films often feature morally ambiguous characters who struggle with their own inner demons, making them complex and multidimensional. After the film, Schrader discussed a common formula he uses in writing with these characters and their story arcs. He also talked about the making of Mishima from funding to release. Shrader is still actively writing and plans on directing this summer. He told the audience that one of his scripts was recently sold to Elizabeth Moss and why he did it.

Paul Schrader first gained widespread recognition as a screenwriter in the 1970s, with his breakthrough script for the film Taxi Driver (1976), directed by Martin Scorsese. Schrader's gritty and darkly psychological screenplay, which delves into the troubled mind of the film's protagonist, Travis Bickle (played by Robert De Niro), earned him critical acclaim and established him as a leading figure in American cinema. Schrader's collaborations with Scorsese continued with Raging Bull (1980) and The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), further showcasing his ability to craft complex characters and explore deep psychological themes.

In addition to his work as a screenwriter, Schrader has also made a name for himself as a director. He gained further recognition with his directorial debut, Blue Collar (1978), a gritty drama about the struggles of working-class auto workers. Schrader's directorial style is characterized by his bold and uncompromising approach to storytelling, often exploring dark and controversial themes with unflinching honesty. His films are known for their intense psychological examinations of characters, exploring their inner conflicts and moral dilemmas in unique and thought-provoking ways.

Schrader's filmography also includes films such as the hit American Gigolo (1980), and although cringed by many, Cat People (1982) and The Mosquito Coast (1986).

In recent years, Schrader has continued to create thought-provoking films, including First Reformed (2017), a critically acclaimed drama that explores themes of faith, environmentalism, and personal redemption. The film was widely praised for Schrader's masterful direction and the powerful performance by Ethan Hawke in the lead role. Schrader's enduring impact on the world of cinema is evidenced by his influential body of work, which continues to captivate and challenge audiences with its unique blend of bold storytelling, psychological depth, and visual artistry.

The videos below are Paul Schrader introducing Mishima and the Q&A that followed.

David Schwartz and Paul Schrader (on stage)

David Schwartz and Paul Schrader

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