First Reformed (Paul Schrader, 2018)

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hearthesilence
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Re: Paul Schrader

#1 Post by hearthesilence » Sat Apr 01, 2017 10:57 am

Surprised there's no mention of it here, but as mentioned in FrauBlucher's link, Schrader's new film First Reformed is likely to premiere later this year. (The link is old - they've already finished shooting and it's in post-production.)

Given the material he's working with (the lead actor, Ethan Hawke, plays a military chaplain), I'm a bit optimistic about this film, and it would be a relief after the string of bad fortunes that have plagued so much of his recent work.

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Professor Wagstaff
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First Reformed (Paul Schrader, 2018)

#2 Post by Professor Wagstaff » Thu Mar 29, 2018 11:51 am

Paul Schrader's First Reformed

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Re: Trailers for Upcoming Films

#3 Post by DarkImbecile » Thu Mar 29, 2018 12:40 pm


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Re: Trailers for Upcoming Films

#4 Post by mfunk9786 » Tue Apr 03, 2018 10:54 am

Professor Wagstaff wrote:Paul Schrader's First Reformed
This looks absolutely stunning.

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Re: Trailers for Upcoming Films

#5 Post by dda1996a » Tue Apr 03, 2018 2:56 pm

It's been ages since I liked a Schrader film, but I love his spiritual films and Hawke so I'm excited. If this is as good as his 80s output I'll be happy

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Re: First Reformed (Paul Schrader, 2018)

#6 Post by Big Ben » Tue Apr 03, 2018 5:30 pm

Given the increase of rather poor films about faith coming into my local theater this looks really refreshing. Always down for well made films around this topic.

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Re: Paul Schrader

#7 Post by Werewolf by Night » Wed May 16, 2018 5:59 pm

hearthesilence wrote:Surprised there's no mention of it here, but as mentioned in FrauBlucher's link, Schrader's new film First Reformed is likely to premiere later this year. (The link is old - they've already finished shooting and it's in post-production.)

Given the material he's working with (the lead actor, Ethan Hawke, plays a military chaplain), I'm a bit optimistic about this film, and it would be a relief after the string of bad fortunes that have plagued so much of his recent work.
There's a trailer out now and it looks like the film is starting to roll out this weekend. Ignatiy Vishnevetsky calls it a "feature-length homage" to Diary of a Country Priest and Winter Light, which is enough to get my ass in a cinema seat.

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hearthesilence
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Re: First Reformed (Paul Schrader, 2018)

#8 Post by hearthesilence » Wed May 16, 2018 6:22 pm

Two more films Schrader programmed into that Quad Cinema retrospective. I'm almost certain critics were all given promotional materials that listed these films as big influences, one reason why so many reviews are name-checking them over and over. Regardless, I'm definitely looking forward to it - I have strong reservations about him as a filmmaker but he was (is?) a great writer, and this feels like the type of material that would be the best display of his talents.

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Re: First Reformed (Paul Schrader, 2018)

#9 Post by DarkImbecile » Wed May 16, 2018 6:55 pm

I'm trying to wait until I can see it again to really write it up here, but I will say that if First Reformed isn't the best thing Schrader's ever directed, it's breathing down that film's neck.

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Re: First Reformed (Paul Schrader, 2018)

#10 Post by hearthesilence » Thu May 17, 2018 4:14 pm

Glowing reviews from A.O. Scott in the NY Times and Stephanie Zacharek in Time.

I actually know someone who worked on this film, and to my understanding, this was a passion project in just about every sense of the world - a very small budget and I'm sure the usual stress that comes with finding a distributor. Given Schrader's troubles with nearly everything he's directed going back to Dominion, this sounds like a huge vindication for him as a filmmaker.

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Re: First Reformed (Paul Schrader, 2018)

#11 Post by hearthesilence » Sat May 19, 2018 11:09 pm

Saw this today. It was kind of like listening to Bob Dylan's 'Jack Frost' albums (particularly Modern Times), with Schrader's usual influences worn on his sleeve - there are scenes that play like direct quotes...
SpoilerShow
and the final shot quite beautifully evokes the final words to Robert Bresson's PICKPOCKET: "Oh, Jeanne, to reach you at last, what a strange path I had to take."
But this isn't just a lazy copy, he's reconstituting questions that have much more to say in the current world. There are moments where as usual he goes over-the-top, but this is the most effective context he's ever worked with (not simply the most "obvious") which is why this might very well be the finest film he's ever directed as well.

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Re: First Reformed (Paul Schrader, 2018)

#12 Post by dda1996a » Sun May 20, 2018 3:13 am

Did no one here like Mishima or you're just saying that it's been that long since he made something as good?

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Re: First Reformed (Paul Schrader, 2018)

#13 Post by hearthesilence » Sun May 20, 2018 11:16 am

I liked Mishima, moreso the first time I saw it, but I have reservations about it now because it doesn't feel like it has much to say about Mishima and his overt fascism. Formally it remains impressive and Schrader usually holds it up as the one film that would make the case for him as a director, but honestly First Reformed does much more than Mishima with much less (and possibly a few of his other films as well).

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Re: First Reformed (Paul Schrader, 2018)

#14 Post by All the Best People » Tue May 22, 2018 2:33 am

Well, I was with the first hour of this movie, that was Diary of a Country Priest crossed with Winter Light for the modern age. Ultimately, I'm sad (as a Schrader fan) to report that it slipped into heavy-handed self-parody, and I was laughing heartily at one particular image that I believe was meant to be taken seriously. I'm glad he went for it, but in the end, this just didn't come together in anything resembling a satisfying fashion.

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Re: First Reformed (Paul Schrader, 2018)

#15 Post by hearthesilence » Fri Jun 01, 2018 8:50 pm

Jonathan Rosenbaum hasn't written a review on this, but he has posted that he thinks it was by far the best of Schrader's films.

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Re: First Reformed (Paul Schrader, 2018)

#16 Post by Persona » Sat Jun 09, 2018 7:38 pm

This was absolutely incredible. Starts off austere and just sort of immaculately realized, from script to direction to Hawke's performance, then gets riskier and ballsier in its last 45 minutes or so. That's where I can see it jumping the rails for some people, but I thought it was just such a striking way for the movie to develop into this sort of dark fever dream about very real despair and very necessary hope.

Also there was a line about 5 or 10 minutes in where I just started losing it. "I wish I could pray." I can't really explain why that line hit me so hard. But I was choking back sobs.

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Re: First Reformed (Paul Schrader, 2018)

#17 Post by MongooseCmr » Tue Jun 12, 2018 6:54 pm

The lesson he gives to the children about the Underground Railroad did the same to me. "Imagine them kneeling down there, in the heat, listening and waiting."

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Re: First Reformed (Paul Schrader, 2018)

#18 Post by All the Best People » Wed Jun 13, 2018 2:46 am

I don't know. The film pretty much completely lost me when Hawke's character references the non-existent Biblical book of "Revelations", then made me feel justified for being lost with
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the embarrassing "lay on me"/floating scene, which is perhaps the most hamfisted, heavy-handed sequence I've seen in some time
and then I was further done
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when I was laughing out loud when he wrapped himself in barbed wire. I mean, come on, man.
Very disappointing as I've been a huge advocate of Schrader as a filmmaker and a personality, but after the first hour (as mentioned above, basically a modern spin on Winter Light by way of Diary of a Country Priest), which is intriguing, it just slowly (as also mentioned above) descends into complete self-parody. I almost feel like this is the Schrader film for people who don't like Schrader films, but then some other fans seem to think this is some sort of of crowning achievement rather than the humiliating last gasp I found it to be.

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Re: First Reformed (Paul Schrader, 2018)

#19 Post by wattsup32 » Wed Jun 13, 2018 9:41 am

All the Best People wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 2:46 am
I don't know. The film pretty much completely lost me when Hawke's character references the non-existent Biblical book of "Revelations"
Is it the "s" at at the end of Revelation that put you off?

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Re: First Reformed (Paul Schrader, 2018)

#20 Post by NWRdr4 » Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:33 am

All the Best People wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 2:46 am
The film pretty much completely lost me when Hawke's character references the non-existent Biblical book of "Revelations"...
The film never lost me, but I’ll cop to finding that slightly jarring as well—not because it’s not a believable goof for Toller (as someone who has two degrees in religious studies and has spent significant time around seminaries, I can assure you that saying “Revelations” instead of “Revelation” is even heard in informal academic discussions), but because I highly doubt it was an intentional moment of characterization on Schrader’s part.

The same thing always happens to me when I watch the dub of Miyazaki’s Castle in the Sky after Mark Hamill proclaims the power of the “Ramanaya,” another text that doesn’t exist (it’s the “Ramayana”).

Edit: I guess what I wanted to say is that although these don’t bother me all that much, they do bother me enough that I can see why they would push others who may be less invested entirely out of the film.
Last edited by NWRdr4 on Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: First Reformed (Paul Schrader, 2018)

#21 Post by Persona » Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:55 am

Schrader says he arrived at a certain scene (and you will know which one) by asking himself "What Would Tarkovsky Do?"

I will always co-sign that sort of creative method, haha.

I get why the last act doesn't work for some people. But what others see as perhaps "self-parody" I really see as Schrader laying claim to what he has established in the film as something in the vein of those great Bresson and Bergman and Dreyer works and making it his own, sort of guiding that transcendental style into something different, something very modern but something also very of Schrader. Something extreme, yes, but that is in close alignment with the film's arc itself and what is happening with Toller's character, as he becomes increasingly despairing, disconnected, sick in body and spirit, and starts to feel a dangerous equivalency between extremism and martyrdom.

Here are some of my longer impressions of the film and why what it does works so profoundly and beautifully for me:

https://glassdark.tumblr.com/post/17475 ... ormed-2018

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Re: First Reformed (Paul Schrader, 2018)

#22 Post by mfunk9786 » Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:36 pm

This leaps instantaneously to my short list of great films I've had the pleasure of seeing in my still brief lifetime, and makes me wonder about that whole stupid conversation going on the day after the election results in 2016 where some were trying to wrap themselves in the electric blanket of "Well, you know, when things are tough, at least great art gets made. Hey, look at the 40s and 70s!" The response to that, probably rightfully, was a statistically correct "great art gets made all the time," but that doesn't change the fact that First Reformed is one of a few recent examples of modern malaise elevating the work of talented writers and filmmakers into transcendence. It is so brilliantly written, lensed, acted -- and somehow sits firmly on the ground, diagetically engaging with issues that are relevant to the modern day without even a momentary tonal slip-up.

Particularly in the wreckage of the suicide of Anthony Bourdain, someone who was both physically worn out and psychologically hyper-engaged in the misery of the effect of affluence and strife on the world - aka 'woke' - this is a chillingly important piece of work to run out and see right. now.
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And if you're keeping score at home - LQ saw the ending as entirely imagined, a death rattle - and perhaps because I needed it right at this moment, it never even crossed my mind that it was anything but real. Not sure what that says about anything, except that this is one of those films that demands that level of high level discussion and engagement, even on the drive home. It simply must be reckoned with.

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Re: First Reformed (Paul Schrader, 2018)

#23 Post by McCrutchy » Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:59 pm

I really wanted to see this tomorrow, but plans beyond my control mean I likely won't. I hope it doesn't leave my theater after the weekend, as it's down to one show from Friday.

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Re: First Reformed (Paul Schrader, 2018)

#24 Post by mfunk9786 » Thu Jun 14, 2018 11:11 am

Taking my father* who I am 99% sure still does not believe in global warming to see this on Sunday... wish me luck, everyone!

*Were this made by some young filmmaker I wouldn't even bother, but his love of Schrader's 70s and 80s work leads me to want to get very close to the electric fence and challenge him with this one.

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Re: First Reformed (Paul Schrader, 2018)

#25 Post by wattsup32 » Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:47 pm

mfunk9786 wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:36 pm
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And if you're keeping score at home - LQ saw the ending as entirely imagined, a death rattle - and perhaps because I needed it right at this moment, it never even crossed my mind that it was anything but real. Not sure what that says about anything, except that this is one of those films that demands that level of high level discussion and engagement, even on the drive home. It simply must be reckoned with.
I read it similarly to LQ. In fact, I wonder if we don't have to read everything after:
SpoilerShow
Toller rips out the two pages from his journal as not real or at least highly unreliable as "true" from anyone else's perspective.

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