Paul and I talk about his new film Dog Eat Dog, living in the “sweet spot” of history, why humans have run their course and the recidivist nature of crime.
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DOG EAT DOG is a gritty contemporary crime thriller starring Nicolas Cage and Willem Dafoe about a trio of excons, deep in the underbelly of Cleveland, who are hired for a kidnapping.
When the botched abduction goes awry and gets completely out of control, the cons find themselves on the run, vowing to stay out of prison at all costs.
Paul Schrader is an award-winning screenwriter and film director. Schrader wrote or co-wrote screenplays for four Martin Scorsese films: Taxi Driver (1976), Raging Bull (1980), The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) and Bringing Out the Dead (1999). Schrader has also directed 18 feature films, including 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).
Schrader began his career at UCLA Film school and the AFI. He was the film critic for the Los Angeles Free Press, edited Cinema magazine and in 1972 published Transcendental Style in Film, a study of Bresson, Ozu and Dreyer which will be reissued next year in a revised edition of University of California Press.
He teaches occasionally at Columbia university and continues to contribute to Film Comment magazine in New York In 1974, Schrader and his brother Leonard cowrote The Yakuza, a film set in the Japanese crime world. The film was directed by Sydney Pollack and starred Robert Mitchum. The Yakuza brought Schrader to the attention of the new generation of Hollywood directors. In 1975, he wrote the script for Obsession for Brian De Palma.
Schrader also wrote an early draft of Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977). One of Schrader’s most famous scripts about an obsessed New York City taxi driver was turned into Martin Scorsese’s film Taxi Driver, which was nominated for a 1976 Best Picture Academy Award 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).
In 1999, Schrader received the Laurel Award for Screenwriting Achievement from the Writers Guild of America.
Schrader headed the International Jury of the 2007 Berlin International Film Festival. On July 2, 2009, Schrader was awarded the inaugural Lifetime Achievement in Screenwriting award at the ScreenLit Festival in Nottingham, England. Several of his films were shown at the festival, including Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters.
He has received lifetime achievement awards from various festivals, including Gent, Manila, Vallodolid, Stockholm, SXSW, Istanbul, Haifa, Goriza, Mill Valley, San Francisco, Guanajuato.