[Marxism] First Reformed | Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri May 18 08:36:37 MDT 2018

For most film buffs, the movie “Taxi Driver” and the name Martin 
Scorsese are inextricably linked. But for me, the essence of a film is 
the screenplay. It all goes back to Aristotle who in defining tragedy in 
“Poetics” placed plot and character at the top of the six necessary 
ingredients (the other four are diction, thought, spectacle, and 
melody). Martin Scorsese did not write the screenplay for “Taxi Driver”. 
It was written by Paul Schrader, who also wrote “Raging Bull”. If there 
is anything that defines these masterpieces, it is the brilliant 
storytelling (plot) and character development of the screenplay (think 
Travis Bickle and Jake LaMotta). Scorsese deserves credit for helping 
Robert De Niro fully realize two memorable characters and creating the 
spellbinding background against which they stand (think of spectacle as 
cinematography and melody as film score) but without Schrader’s 
screenplay, it would have been all for naught.

In addition to being a screenwriter, Schrader was also a 
director—sometimes with mixed results. I am pleased to report that his 
latest film that opens nationwide today is not only his greatest 
achievement but one of the great American films of the decade. “First 
Reformed” tells the story of Toller (Ethan Hawke), the grief-stricken 
pastor of the eponymous upstate N.Y. Protestant church who delivers 
sermons to less than ten people on an average Sunday. The drawing card 
for the church is not spirituality, but its status as a landmark 
building that draws tourists, including some that can be persuaded to 
buy a coffee cup, baseball cap or t-shirt from the church’s tiny 
souvenir shop.

full: https://louisproyect.org/2018/05/18/first-reformed/

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