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Saturday, May 26, 2018
Paul Schrader of ''Taxi Driver'' fame delivers a powerful cli-fi thriller with FIRST UNITED [CHURCH]
FIRST UNITED is perhaps the first real cli-fi movie of the 21st century, and Paul Schrader (remember him?) has directed it. It's the cli-fi movie of the year, that's for sure, although it's not about climate change per se. Watch it and see for yourself. Like Barbara Kingsolver's FLIGHT BEHAVIOR novel, this movie will touch you deeply. Cli-fi, it's in the air.
So SOME PAUL SCHRADER quotes about his new movie:
The movie an accumulation of what I’ve been doing from the start. Even before I became a screenwriter, as a critic I wrote a book that was a study of spiritual cinema. I had come up through a Christian church background and it always interested me.
I don’t think it’s really possible to be alive without pushing some sort of cli-fi agenda, particularly now that climate change has put so many of the historic and theological issues into boldface. There are so many great questions that philosophers have been talking about for 3,000 years and now there’s a pretty good chance we’re going to get those answers.
I’ve lived in the magic cone of history, the best era of history, the most selfish, most indulgent, privileged, laziest of human history that has ever existed. And in return for all this beneficence, we have in turn ruined the planet.
Early on in the film, Pastor Toller has a long conversation with the young man who is wondering whether to bring a child into this world. He says, “This is not about your baby, this is about you and your despair.” You can say the same thing about Reverend Toller about his biological son in the form of this kid who wants his help, or his attitude towards the environment. He’s looking for something to latch onto to justify his darkness of the soul. In some way they’re interchangeable. He graphs onto himself the cause of the young man, but that’s not his problem.
It’s not really a positive church film like All Saints. It’s really trying to make the world a better place through the metaphor of the church. This is one of those dark night of the soul movies and how it reverberates off people is unpredictable. It goes back to Taxi Driver in the same kind of configuration. You can’t really predict how that film affects people.
We are living in a tsunami of product. Every day is Hurricane Harvey day in Hollywood and the movies just come like a tidal wave and so what does it take to get your head above the crowd in TV, theatrical, streaming? That has become one of the new functions of festivals. There are simply so many films that no organization and no critic can monitor them, so the movie festivals are now becoming the de facto gatekeepers.