THE PAUL SCHRADER CONVERSATION
a pastor and his crisis of faith
I first met Paul Schrader when I was 12-years-old. It was in a movie theater with my mother and father. They had taken me to a double bill of Lenny by Bob Fosse and Taxi Driver by Paul Schrader. I purposely didn’t write directed by Martin Scorsese, because while he did direct it in a most breathing manner, after having seen all Paul has put out into the world and living in his work for many weeks before the conversation, the film is, from start to finish, Paul heart, soul and calling on screen.
The movie shook me to my core. Shocked me. Scared the living shit out of me. And told me that there was something sacred, something very profane and powerful about the movies. I knew this before I saw Taxi Driver but at the time I had many dark secrets in my life, the least of which I was living out the life the character Jodie Foster was in the movie.
She was a teenage prostitute, and so was I. My parents had no idea. I spent many, many years processing that time in my life, and today I see it as the building blocks for why Paul and his body of work is so deeply meaningful to me.
He’s an artist who elevates the art form by making the tangible intangible. He takes it a whole new place and into an entirely new framework. From his work with Scorsese to his own life directing numerous film, Paul is a rare bird indeed: independent, voracious and at the end of all days a deeply kind, compassionate and loving person.
I don’t know Paul beyond this single conversation we had, but at the end when we talked about his brother and about family something happened and in a flash I saw the full opening of what he gave me glimpses of earlier in our talk and that was the purity of his essence and it was breathtaking.
I think there is a perception of Paul due to his work that misses out on the totality of him. Who I met was a very open and available person deeply invested in connection and was light, free and in those moments when he smiled a being of such purity it took my breath away.
I look at photo above of us and feel the intensity of the room and then I look at this photo below and this, in my heart, is Paul:
Here is the conversation. I hope you enjoy. I’m so deeply grateful Paul trusted me and allowed me the time to speak with him. It was a highlight of my life and one I will never forget.