For four decades Paul Schrader has continued to be one of America’s most provocative filmmakers. After launching as the celebrated screenwriter of such classics as TAXI DRIVER and RAGING BULL, Schrader forged an acclaimed body of work as a writer/director with films like AMERICAN GIGOLO, MISHIMA: A LIFE IN FOUR CHAPTERS, CAT PEOPLE, AFFLICTION, LIGHT SLEEPER, and his recent film, FIRST REFORMED, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay in 2019. His upcoming film, THE CARD COUNTER, stars Oscar Isaac, Willem Dafoe, Tye Sheridan, and Tiffany Haddish, and is co-executive produced by Martin Scorsese.
Having grown up in a household that disapproved of moviegoing, he had never seen a film until the age of 18. Within a decade of seeing that first movie, Schrader had become one of the industry’s most acclaimed and busy screenwriters. In the interim, he forged a brief but vital career as a film critic and was published in leading film journals. His acclaimed and influential 1972 book, Transcendental Style in Film: Ozu, Bresson, Dreyer was recently published in a revised version by the University of California Press.
Moving from film criticism into screenwriting, Schrader soon sold a screenplay, THE YAKUZA (co-written with his brother), for a near-record sum. His screenplay for TAXI DRIVER firmly established him as one of the most important screenwriters of the twentieth century. Schrader would continue to collaborate with Martin Scorsese on other films including RAGING BULL, THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST, and BRINGING OUT THE DEAD. He also wrote OBSESSION for director Brian De Palma, and wrote an early draft of CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND for Steven Spielberg.
His other credits as a writer/director include BLUE COLLAR, HARDCORE, AUTO FOCUS, LIGHT OF DAY, THE CANYONS, THE WALKER, DOG EAT DOG and FOREVER MINE. He also directed THE COMFORT OF STRANGERS, based on a screenplay by Harold Pinter, and PATTY HEARST, written by Nicholas Kazan. As well as directing a music video for Bob Dylan, he has also written two stage plays, BERLINALE and CLEOPATRA CLUB. His film MISHIMA: A LIFE IN FOUR CHAPTERS was nominated for the Palm D’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Francis Coppola and George Lucas served as executive producers for the acclaimed film.
Throughout his long career, Schrader has navigated Hollywood studios and the independent film world, embraced new technologies and processes, and has fought fiercely to bring his visions to the screen by any means necessary.