We don’t know the ins and outs of his contract with the producers, but it seems that Paul Schrader is skirting the line of not disparaging “Dying Of The Light.” As you might recall, the director contends that the film was taken away from him and re-edited, leading to Schrader, producer Nicolas Winding Refn, and stars Nicolas Cage and Anton Yelchin to boycoot the film. But the terms of their contract state they can’t bad mouth the movie, so they’ve found a way around it with some clever t-shirts. But speaking with Slate, the filmmaker didn’t talk about the movie exactly, so much as the folks behind it, and his words are fairly candid.
“I fell in with some bad people. It happens. Because film directors are such personalities, you think, ‘Put me in the cage with the lions. I know how to treat the lions. I’ll have them all sitting on their stools.’ It doesn’t always work that way. Sometimes the lions win,” Schrader said. “Every time something like that happens, you swear it’s not going to happen again. But the problem is, they always come up with new ways to fuck you. You think, ‘OK, they’re never going to fuck you that way again.’ Well, they’re probably not, but they’re going to find a new way. It’s kind of hard to protect yourself completely.”
But Schrader believes it isn’t just an issue with the people on this specific film, but in the industry in general. “Particularly now, there’s so many people involved in motion pictures that don’t really care about movies. Movies used to be made by people who actually liked movies,” he said. “There are so many people who really don’t care much about movies one way or another. Those are the kind of people I got involved with and I thought they had respect for me and they didn’t. So I got fooled that way.”
As for the state of cinema itself, Schrader has long put forth the position that the moviegoing experience was we know it is on it’s way out the door. “…the 20th-century concept of a projected image in a dark room in front of a paying audience. If you’re wedded to that concept, you’re in trouble, because that concept is dead,” he states. Pointing toward both longer form storytelling on TV and shorter form moviemaking on the internet, Schrader says the definition of a “movie” is up for grabs, and the three-act, two-hour movie is becoming stale. And so, when it comes to the push lately for 35mm projection and saving analog formats, you better bring that nostalgia somewhere else.
“It’s all revanchist claptrap. The goal of art is not to tell people what tools they want to use, but to use whatever tools are around. The tools are always changing and the artists need to change with the tools. We didn’t have movies 100 years ago, and we did quite fine without them, and now they’re going to become something else again,” Schrader says.
These are statements that will likely stir the pot once more, and while everyone argues about it, Schrader is off to shoot a web series next year inspired by “La Dolce Vita,” and dip his hands into other projects. But do you agree with him? Hit the comments section and let us know.