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Movies as Religion

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Paul Schrader made an auspicious début as the screenwriter of “Taxi Driver” and the director of “Blue Collar” and “American Gigolo.” But as Hollywood turned away from serious drama, Schrader struggled. Schrader is, above all, serious about filmmaking: the product of a strict Dutch Calvinist upbringing in which movies were forbidden, he first fell in love with directors like Robert Bresson and Ingmar Bergman— icons of the European, intellectual tradition in cinema. The New Yorker’s Richard Brody considers Schrader to be a true auteur and one of the greats of American film. They spoke about religion and movies on the occasion of Schrader’s new film, “First Reformed.” It stars Ethan Hawke as the troubled pastor of a small church, and it reflects Schrader’s obsession with morality in a fallen world. Plus: on-the-job horror stories from three great writers—Gillian Flynn, Akhil Sharma, and Alison Bechdel.

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