Paul Schrader
American film director
Paul Schrader
Paul Joseph Schrader is an American screenwriter, film director, and former film critic. Apart from his credentials as a director, Schrader is most known for his screenplays for Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver and Raging Bull.
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Paul Schrader, Nicolas Cage and Willem Dafoe team in the wacky, never boring 'Dog Eat Dog'
LATimes - 4 months
Bad people do worse things in “Dog Eat Dog,” a pitch dark crime dramedy directed with whacked-out verve by Paul Schrader. Although it’s an often repellant, uneven film that, in the end, doesn’t amount to a whole lot, there’s something thrilling and a bit liberating about the anarchic vibe that...
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LATimes article
Willem Dafoe On 'Dog Eat Dog' And The Possibility Of Playing Joker
Huffington Post - 4 months
Let’s put a smile on that face. In his latest movie, “Dog Eat Dog,” actor Willem Dafoe plays a psychotic criminal named Mad Dog. It’s a character description Dafoe’s become known for. Though he’s played similarly deranged roles over the years, the actor tells The Huffington Post that he was drawn to the complexity of the character. “Yes, he does these vicious things, but a lot of the times when we see him he’s very vulnerable and very needy and insecure, and the combination of those two things is interesting,” said Dafoe. As we mentioned, Dafoe’s played crazy before. But there’s one wild character the actor has yet to portray on the big screen:  How has Willem Dafoe not been The Joker yet? For a while now, fans have called on Dafoe to play Batman’s nemesis Joker, and when we asked Dafoe about the possibility, he was well aware of it. “People have been asking me for years,” the actor said. Though, you probably shouldn’t expect him to take on the Clown Pr ...
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Huffington Post article
Huffington Post - about 1 year
Kent Jones' Hitchcock/Truffaut, currently playing at Film Forum, is a rare bird, a film based upon an iconic book which memorialized the extensive conversation between two great filmmakers. Truffaut had only made three films when he sought out Hitchcock in l962. Visiting Hitchcock for the young filmmaker championing the Nouvelle Vague and the auteur theory of cinema was like a pilgrim traveling to mecca. As such the film has a degree of separation from the films since it relates to them by way of the written word. Along the way David Fincher, Paul Schrader, Peter Bogdanovich, Richard Linklater and Wes Anderson make cameo appearances to discuss both book and film. But the real star of the show is Martin Scorsese and the subject that takes up most of the celluloid are arguably Hitchcock's two greatest masterpieces Psycho (1960) and Vertigo (1958). Scorsese is particularly brilliant describing Psycho and the placement of the steering wheel within the frame of the shot in which Janet Leigh ...
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Huffington Post article
CultureZohn: <i>Hitchcock/Truffaut</i>: A Cinematic Love Affair
Huffington Post - about 1 year
Hitchcock and Truffaut meeting at Universal Studios, photo by Philippe Halsman In this day and age of digi-communication, it is very easy to access libraries and materials, printed and video, that help us understand the great creative minds of the past. What is much less common is the possibility of hearing directly from the artists themselves, especially in conversation with each other. Truffaut and Hitchcock by Philippe Halsman In 1962, Francois Truffaut was just 30 and not afraid to admit that he still had much to learn though he had been a film historian and critic and his first three films were already considered masterpieces of a new, more spontaneous style of filmmaking. As with fellow French filmmakers Jean Luc Godard and Louis Malle, he studied forgotten American films as well as international ones for what they could impart. He took it upon himself to resurrect the artistic contributions of one of his heroes, Alfred Hitchcock, whom he had met when he was s ...
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Huffington Post article
Comment on Dying of the Light Review by Daniel Essman - almost 2 years
I have no idea why this movie got such poor reviews. Perhaps there was more talk (or whatever?) in the original imagining of the script. I certainly don’t know. I agree with you, Gloria, that Cage’s intensity blew through this flick and he blew me away. Also, Paul Schrader’s quirky and realistic character design was apparent. If it is accurate that the movie’s principals didn’t get the movie they intended to make, that doesn’t mean the movie that was released on dvd wasn’t damn good. There’s always room for a director’s cut sometime in the future. Hell, consider how many versions there are of “Blade Runner.” Ridley Scott, I gather, wasn’t totally thrilled with the initial theatrical release. That less than perfect version thrilled me. Though I’m not comparing these flicks, my point is the same: “Dying of the Light” as released was a fine movie and the imagined movie that the filmmaker and actors and other reviewers seem to know about exists solely in the ether.
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Heave’s Over: Our favorite movies
Heave Media - almost 3 years
Welcome to part three of Heave’s Over, our set of staff list pieces leading up to our final day of publication on Friday. Today, our staff gives lists of their top 10 all-time favorite movies. Remember: these are all-time favorites, not “best film” lists or whatever. Also, titles aren’t italicized because otherwise everything would be in the font you’re reading now. Frank Macarthy 1) The Big Lebowski (Joel &amp; Ethan Coen, 1998) 2) Animal House (John Landis, 1978) 3) Poltergeist (Tobe Hooper, 1982) 4) Jurassic Park (Steven Spielberg, 1993) 5) Dirty Work (Bob Saget, 1998) 6) The Shawshank Redemption (Frank Darabont, 1994) 7) Trading Places (John Landis, 1983) 8 ) The Jerk (Carl Reiner, 1979) 9) The Last Waltz (Martin Scorsese, 1978) 10) Step Brothers (Adam McKay, 2008) —— Marissa Morales 1) Double Indemnity (Billy Wilder, 1944) 2) Some Like It Hot (Billy Wilder, 1959) 3) Submarine (Richard Ayoade, 2010) 4) The Departed (Martin Scorsese, 2006) 5) Moonrise Kingdom ...
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Heave Media article
Robert De Niro: 'I'd like to see where Travis Bickle is today'
Guardian (UK) - over 3 years
If you thought that Robert De Niro had mellowed in his old age, think again. His new film with Luc Besson is feistily violent and he still hankers after making a sequel to Taxi Driver To misquote Bananarama, Robert De Niro is waiting inside the hotel room, talking on his phone, though probably not in Italian. I'm outside with the PR, who keeps easing open the door to check if he's done. The publicist is starstruck; he doesn't want to intrude. He explains that he grew up watching De Niro movies and that Taxi Driver is basically the reason he got into this business to begin with. We agree that it's wise to make no mention of this. He might shut the door and lock us out altogether. De Niro is in town to discuss his new role as an ageing bull in a witness protection programme, and this seems fitting. Over the past four decades we have known him as sibilant Vito Corleone, volcanic Jake LaMotta, oily Rupert Pupkin, and any number of others, which is another way of saying we don't know him ...
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Guardian (UK) article
Too Good To Be True--Was! You Judge The Larry-Barry Story
Huffington Post - over 3 years
In the 1979 melodrama, Hardcore, starring George C. Scott, writer-director Paul Schrader was less than subtle when he gave his villain the name Ratan, which rhymes with Satan. In my scenario, the man who told me his name was Larry was really Barry. He also failed to mention that he had a wife, who I will give the name Carrie, just to keep it phonetic. One has to try to wrestle (squeeze?) some humor out of this heartbreaking reminder of how cruel humans can be to each other. "Larry" did something truly dumb for someone trying to "get one over on you and not get caught." He told me what he really did for a living, and where his company was located. Armed with that information and his phone number, when I became suspicious -- for reasons I will soon reveal --all that had to be done (and a friend did it for me) was to find out whose phone number that was. Voila, exit Larry and enter Barry, with the same business in that same area. And of course, enter a new character in this melodrama ...
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Huffington Post article
'Canyons' Director Paul Schrader 'Disappointed' Lindsay Lohan Didn't Do Press For Film
Huffington Post - over 3 years
Lindsay Lohan received some of her best reviews in recent years for her work in last summer's "The Canyons," but director Paul Schrader is "disappointed" in her off-screen work. Schrader, the acclaimed writer of "Taxi Driver," "Raging Bull" and "The Last Temptation of Christ," took to the film's Facebook page on Wednesday to express his dismay, writing that he was "mystified" Lohan didn't do more to back "The Canyons" in the press. Lohan's lead turn in the film was called "fascinating" by famed Variety critic Scott Foundas, while The New Yorker's Richard Brody -- whom Schrader mentions in the Facebook post -- wrote that it was "hard to imagine another actress of Lohan’s generation who would bring such emotional force to the role of a struggling actress." Schrader's full post can be found below. (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); = id; js.src = "// ...
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Huffington Post article
E. Nina Rothe: Best of Venice 70: Getting to Know The Canyons
Huffington Post - over 3 years
OK, so now that we've all gotten the gossip out of the way -- what did filmmaker Paul Schrader say about working with Lindsay Lohan and why did Lohan fail to attend the Venice Film Festival with the film -- we can now finally talk about why The Canyons is a film to watch. Even if, by now the US reviews have already been in for a while, from the early August release of the film. When a filmmaker has written a classic like Taxi Driver and directed another like American Gigolo, there is little doubt in my mind that his film will be groundbreaking. But innovative, new can also turn out to be boring, edgy and too incomprehensible for a simple human like me. Instead Schrader, perfectly interpreting a screenplay by Bret Easton Ellis, never talks down to his audience, taking us instead on a journey around the Los Angeles canyons, the Malibu of the rich and the Los Feliz of the struggling. In the process, he not only shows two sides of LA that have never been so masterfully com ...
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Huffington Post article
Why She Skipped Out On Venice
Huffington Post - over 3 years
Lindsay Lohan is defending herself against those critical of her absence at the Venice Film Festival, where her new movie "The Canyons" premiered on Friday. In a message the actress posted on her website, Lohan said she never confirmed she was attending the festival and that she must place her current focus elsewhere. "Of course, I would have enjoyed returning to that wonderful city and being a part of this amazing event, but my focus is on my health and well-being," Lohan writes. "Plain and simple, it is of the utmost importance." Speculations ran wild after director Paul Schrader seemed to make disparaging remarks about his work with the actress. When asked at a press conference why Lohan wasn't present for the premiere, Shrader said, "For the last 16 months, I've been hostage, by own choosing, to a very talented but unpredictable actress. She was supposed to be here today. She said she would be, but she is not." Lohan had already expressed her support for her "Ca ...
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Huffington Post article
Lindsay Lohan is a no-show at Venice Film Festival - USA TODAY
Google News - over 3 years
ABC News Lindsay Lohan is a no-show at Venice Film Festival USA TODAY The director said he's 'been held hostage' by Lohan's antics. CANYONS. Screenwriter Bret Easton Ellis, James Deen, director Paul Schrader and Tenille Huston assemble at the Venice Film Festival premiere of 'The Canyons' - minus Lohan. (Photo: ETTORE ... Director jokes Lohan held him 'hostage' with 'unpredictable' behaviorNew York Daily News The Canyons, Venice Film Festival 2013, Venice: Lindsay Lohan Is a No-ShowHollywood Reporter Us Magazine -ABC News all 105 news articles »
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Google News article
Susan Michals: Monya Gallery Heads to Orchard Street
Huffington Post - over 3 years
(Larissa Bates, Mama Mimi, Hija, Hija, Hija, gouache and gold leaf on panel; image courtesy of Monya Rowe Gallery) Monya Rowe has moved. Typical of groovy gallerists everywhere, Ms. Rowe has chosen a nontraditional approach for her new space (see below) to match her eclectic exhibition choices. The gallery's last exhibition showed us 10 artists showcasing their musings and feelings about screenwriter and filmmaker Paul Schrader (think happy thoughts and remember him for Taxi Driver vs. The Canyons). The new space, located at 34 Orchard Street, is a ground floor location with a much larger exhibition space. "We were on the second floor in Chelsea for a long time," said Ms. Rowe via email. "The timing was just right as I was looking for a ground floor location to increase visibility and expand the exhibition space." While Rowe will partake in a few minor renovations, she's all about maintaining the existing charm, such as the once informational and now strictly ...
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Huffington Post article
Nikola Stepi&cacute;: Stuck in The Canyons
Huffington Post - over 3 years
There is ample reason to be interested in The Canyons, the latest Lindsay Lohan film that seems to be on everyone's lips and laptop screens. It's undoubtedly provoking, though often times not for a good reason. It got a lot of buzz after a spectacular New York Times piece that detailed the film's troubled production and the cast and crew's antics on the set, but also hinted at a possibly weighty, meaningful movie that would utilize Lohan's talent. We all know it's there -- remember films such as Mean Girls, Georgia Rule and Bobby, among others? Yet, Lohan's involvement in dubious projects such as the critically panned Liz Taylor biopic or the similarly dismissed horror flick I Know Who Killed Me, in a saddening combination with her run-ins with the law and the media, as well as her drug addiction, keep her from showcasing and honing her natural talent. She has become one of pop culture's obvious casualties, a person we've known for a long time but can't help but feel tired of ...
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Huffington Post article
Paul Schrader crafts a fascinating mess in 'The Canyons' &#9733;&#9733
Chicago Times - over 3 years
Already trolling for customers online, "The Canyons" is a four-auteur folly of considerable interest despite its badness.     
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Chicago Times article
The Canyons Director Paul Schrader: Lindsay Lohan Is 'Worried' About Recovery ( - over 3 years The Canyons Director Paul Schrader: Lindsay Lohan Is ‘Worried’ About Recovery  —  Lindsay Lohan wasn't at the Los Angeles premiere of her racy film The Canyons on Tuesday night, but cast members had plenty to say about the star and her recovery.  —  “She's decided not to be here because she's worried coming …
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Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Paul Schrader
  • 2014
    Age 67
    As of April, 2014, Schrader is in post-production on The Dying of the Light, an espionage thriller starring Nicolas Cage, Anton Yelchin and Irène Jacob.
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  • 2009
    Age 62
    On July 2, 2009, Schrader was awarded the inaugural Lifetime Achievement in Screenwriting award at the ScreenLit Festival in Nottingham, England.
    More Details Hide Details Several of his films were shown at the festival, including Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters, which followed the presentation of the award by director Shane Meadows. Schrader's second marriage is to actress Mary Beth Hurt, who has appeared in smaller roles in a variety of his films.
  • 2007
    Age 60
    Schrader headed the International Jury of the 2007 Berlin International Film Festival, and in 2011 became a jury member for the ongoing Filmaka short film contest.
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  • 2005
    Age 58
    Schrader's version of the film eventually premiered at the Brussels International Festival of Fantastic Film on March 18, 2005 as Exorcist: The Original Prequel.
    More Details Hide Details Due to extreme interest in Schrader's version from critics and cinephiles alike, Warner Bros. agreed to give the film a limited theatrical release later that year under the title Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist. The film was only shown on 110 screens around the United States and made just $251 thousand. The critics liked Schrader's version much better than Harlin's. However, Schrader's film ultimately met with a generally negative reaction. After that, Schrader filmed The Walker (2007), starring Woody Harrelson as a male escort caught up in a political murder enquiry, and the Israeli-set Adam Resurrected (2008), which stars Jeff Goldblum and Willem Dafoe. After five years of trying and failing to find funding to make feature films, Schrader returned with The Canyons (2013) an erotic dramatic thriller written by Bret Easton Ellis and starring Lindsay Lohan and adult-film star James Deen. The film gained a massive amount of publicity since it was one of the very first films to use the website Kickstarter to crowd-source its funding, completely sidestepping the traditional Hollywood system. Schrader also used the website Let It Cast to have unknown actors submit their audition tapes over the internet. American Apparel stepped in to provide some wardrobe for the film. The idea behind making The Canyons was to embrace a Post-Empire sensibility, using the digital filmmaking revolution and popularity of social media and networking to finance, produce, promote and distribute the film.
  • 2003
    Age 56
    In 2003, Schrader made entertainment headlines after being fired from The Exorcist: Dominion, a prequel film to the horror classic The Exorcist from 1973.
    More Details Hide Details The film's production companies Morgan Creek Productions and Warner Bros. Pictures greatly disliked the film Schrader had made. Director Renny Harlin was hired to then re-shoot nearly the entire film, which was released as Exorcist: The Beginning on August 20, 2004 to disastrously negative reviews and embarrassing box office receipts. Warner Bros. and Morgan Creek put over $80 million into the endeavor and Harlin's film only made back $41 million domestically.
  • 2002
    Age 55
    In 2002, he directed the acclaimed biopic Auto Focus, based on the life and murder of Hogan's Heroes actor Bob Crane.
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  • 1999
    Age 52
    In 1999, Schrader received the Laurel Award for Screenwriting Achievement from the Writers Guild of America.
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  • 1998
    Age 51
    In 1998, Schrader won critical acclaim for the drama Affliction.
    More Details Hide Details The film tells the story of a troubled small town policeman (Nick Nolte) who becomes obsessed with solving the mystery behind a fatal hunting accident. Schrader's script was based on the novel by Russell Banks. The film was nominated for multiple awards including two Academy Awards for acting (for Nolte and James Coburn). The same year, Schrader received the Austin Film Festival's Distinguished Screenwriter Award.
  • 1997
    Age 50
    In 1997 he made Touch (1997), based on an Elmore Leonard novel about a young man seemingly able to cure the sick by the laying on of hands.
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  • 1995
    Age 48
    Schrader has written two stage plays, Berlinale and Cleopatra Club. The latter saw its premiere at the Powerhouse Theater in Poughkeepsie, New York, in 1995 and its foreign language debut in Vienna in 2011.
    More Details Hide Details A recurring theme in Schrader's films is the protagonist on a self-destructive path, or undertaking actions which work against himself, deliberately or subconsciously. The finale often bears an element of redemption, preceded by a painful sacrifice or cathartic act of violence. Schrader has repeatedly referred to Taxi Driver, American Gigolo, Light Sleeper, The Canyons and The Walker as "a man in a room" stories. The protagonist in each film changes from an angry, then narcissistic, later anxious character, to a person who hides behind a mask of superficiality. Although many of his films or scripts are based on real-life biographies (Raging Bull, Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters, Patty Hearst, Auto Focus), Schrader confessed having problems with biographical films due to their altering of actual events, which he tried to prevent by imposing structures and stylization instead.
  • 1987
    Age 40
    In 1987, he was a member of the jury at the 37th Berlin International Film Festival.
    More Details Hide Details His 90s work included the travelers-in-Venice tale The Comfort of Strangers (1990), adapted by Harold Pinter from the Ian McEwan novel, and Light Sleeper (1992), a sympathetic study of a drug dealer vying for a normal life. In 2005 Schrader described Light Sleeper as his "most personal" film.
  • 1982
    Age 35
    Among Paul Schrader's films in the 1980s were American Gigolo starring Richard Gere (1980), his 1982 remake of Cat People, and Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985).
    More Details Hide Details Inspired by Japanese writer Yukio Mishima, the film interweaves episodes from Mishima's life with dramatizations of segments from his books. Mishima was nominated for the top prize (the Palme d'Or) at the Cannes Film Festival. Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas served as executive producers. Schrader also directed Patty Hearst (1988), about the kidnapping and transformation of the Hearst Corporation heiress.
    Schrader has also directed 18 feature films, including his directing debut crime drama, Blue Collar (which he and his brother, Leonard, both wrote), the somewhat autobiographical crime drama Hardcore (which he himself also wrote), his 1982 remake of the horror classic Cat People, the crime drama American Gigolo (1980), the biographical drama Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985), the cult film Light Sleeper (1992), the drama Affliction (1997), the biographical film Auto Focus (2002), and the erotic dramatic thriller The Canyons (2013).
    More Details Hide Details Schrader was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the son of Joan (née Fisher) and Charles A. Schrader, an executive. Schrader's family practiced in the Calvinist Christian Reformed Church, and his early life was based upon the religion's strict principles and parental education. He did not see a film until he was seventeen years old, and was able to sneak away from home. In an interview he stated that The Absent-Minded Professor was the first film he saw. In his own words, he was "very unimpressed" by it, while Wild in the Country, which he saw some time later, had quite some effect on him. Schrader refers his intellectual rather than emotional approach towards movies and movie-making to his having no adolescent movie memories. Schrader is of Dutch descent. Schrader received his B.A. from Calvin College, with a minor in theology. He then earned an M.A. in Film Studies from the UCLA Film School graduate program upon the recommendation of Pauline Kael. With her as his mentor, he became a film critic, writing for the Los Angeles Free Press, and later for Cinema magazine. His book Transcendental Style in Film: Ozu, Bresson, Dreyer, which examines the similarities between Robert Bresson, Yasujirō Ozu and Carl Theodor Dreyer, was published in 1972.
  • 1975
    Age 28
    Although The Yakuza failed commercially, it brought Schrader to the attention of the new generation of Hollywood directors. In 1975, he wrote the script for Obsession for Brian De Palma.
    More Details Hide Details Schrader also wrote an early draft of Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), but Spielberg disliked the screen-play, calling it "terribly guilt-ridden", and opted for a lighter script. His script for Rolling Thunder (1977) was reworked without his participation, and Schrader disapproved of the final film. Schrader's script about an obsessed New York City taxi driver was turned into Martin Scorsese's film Taxi Driver, which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture and won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Besides Taxi Driver (1976), Scorsese also drew on scripts by Schrader for boxing tale Raging Bull (1980), co-written with Mardik Martin, The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), and Bringing Out the Dead (1999). Thanks partly to critical acclaim for Taxi Driver, Schrader was able to direct his first feature Blue Collar (1978), co-written with his brother Leonard. Blue Collar features Richard Pryor, Harvey Keitel, and Yaphet Kotto as car factory workers attempting to escape their socio-economic rut through theft and blackmail. Schrader has described the film as difficult to make, because of the artistic and personal tensions among him and the actors; it was the only occasion he suffered an on-set mental collapse and made him seriously reconsider his career. John Milius acted as executive producer on the following year's Hardcore (again written by Schrader), which showed autobiographical parallels in the depicted Calvinist milieu of Grand Rapids, and the character of George C. Scott which was based on Schrader's father.
  • 1974
    Age 27
    In 1974, Schrader and his brother Leonard cowrote The Yakuza, a film set in the Japanese crime world.
    More Details Hide Details The script became the subject of a bidding war, and it sold for $325,000. The film was directed by Sydney Pollack and starred Robert Mitchum. Robert Towne, best known for Chinatown, also got credit for doing a rewrite.
  • 1959
    Age 12
    The endings of Schrader's films American Gigolo and Light Sleeper bear obvious resemblance to that of Bresson's 1959 film Pickpocket.
    More Details Hide Details His essay Notes on Film Noir from the same year has become a much-cited source in literature on film. The September–October 2006 issue of Film Comment magazine published his essay Canon Fodder which attempted to establish criteria for judging film masterworks. Other film-makers who made a lasting impression on Schrader are John Ford, Jean Renoir, Roberto Rossellini, Alfred Hitchcock and Sam Peckinpah. Renoir's The Rules of the Game he called the "quintessential movie" which represents "all of the cinema".
  • 1946
    Born on July 22, 1946.
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