Friday, March 6, 2009

Paul Schrader Film Festival

Paul Schrader: Cavalier Filmmaker

Sordid, Brutal, Beloved. These are apt terms to describe the subject matter and relationship one has with Paul Schrader films. He first emerged in the seventies as a film critic (his writing can be found at, high off the influence of the spiritual film maker Robert Bresson, he pursued a successful screenplay career and on occasion directing. Focusing on grim settings and alienated protagonist with perversions towards violence and sex. Tim Silano`s Schraders Exorcism is a documentary on Schraders unsuccessful attempt in the direction of The Exorcist: The Beginning. After his confrontation with the film producers at Morgan Creek. Silano examines the relationship Holywood has with its filmmakers and their stronghand on creative output. His original attempt was to turn the content from a b-horror movie to an a-psychological thriller and it was that artiness that had him removed from the project and replaced by a generic filmmaker Renny Harlin. The Mayfair Theatre is using the documentary as a base to screen two Paul Schraders gems from his prodigious career as screenplay writer: the Martin Scorsese directed Taxi Driver (1976) and Raging Bull (1980). Taxi Driver lead actor Robert De Niro plays a lonely messed-up taxi driver who after several unsuccessful attempts to reach out to society decides to spiral downwards in pathology culminating in one of cinemas greatest bloodbaths. Raging Bull pits De Niro, In one of his best performances, now as the Boxer Jake LaMotta against the world. It examines the effects of ignorance and anger has on an individual. Fun to watch and leaves room to think about afterwards. These characters, issues and pleasures come up in the documentary and where it was a fictional De Niro personifying them in the latter, it is the all too real Schrader experiencing them in the former. Currently his latest film Adam Ressurected has yet been able to find a distributor. These films promote life experience and hardships and it is those issues faced by Schaders in his Exorcism which makes the investigation absorbing.-David Davidson

The Paul Schrader Film Festival plays at The Mayfair Theatre March 18 & 19.

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