June 24, 2024

Director Paul Schrader knew from start that ‘New Hollywood’ would change cinema

CANNES, France, May 18 — Director Paul Schrader said today that he knew back in the late 1960s that he and contemporaries in the “New Hollywood” movement, several of whom are also at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, were changing the industry forever.

“We didn’t know the long-term ramifications, but we knew we were the first generation that was doing this,” he said at a press conference for his Cannes competition film Oh, Canada.

This year’s festival will serve as a mini-reunion for the ageing movement, with Schrader, 77, attending alongside George Lucas, 80, and Francis Ford Coppola, 85.

Schrader is competing against Coppola’s sci-fi opus “Megalopolis” for the festival’s top prize, the Palme d’Or, with “Oh, Canada,” while Lucas is in town for an honorary award to be handed out at the closing ceremony on May 25.


A month before the festival kicked off, Schrader posted a picture from 1985 of him along with Lucas and Coppola with the caption “Together again” on Facebook.

Studios were in a crisis in the late 1960s when Dennis Hopper’s 1969 film Easy Rider appeared, said Schrader.

The film helped usher in a period known as the “New Hollywood” era of film-making, which often avoided happy endings and other conventions of the Hollywood studio system.


“All of a sudden Easy Rider makes money and there was a golden moment for a period of five or six years when you could walk into a studio and they would actually listen to you.”

Schrader became well-known for his collaboration with another “New Hollywood” auteur, Martin Scorsese, including writing the screenplay for Taxi Driver, as well as directing his own classics such as American Gigolo and Affliction.— Reuters

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