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ReFocus: The Films of Paul Schrader$
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Michelle E. Moore and Brian Brems

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781474462037

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474462037.001.0001

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Leaning on the Everlasting Arms: Love and Silence in First Reformed

Leaning on the Everlasting Arms: Love and Silence in First Reformed

(p.189) Chapter 11 Leaning on the Everlasting Arms: Love and Silence in First Reformed
ReFocus: The Films of Paul Schrader

Robert Ribera

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter reads First Reformed as an embodiment and fulfillment of Paul Schrader’s career, a capstone that serves as a meditation on our responsibilities toward each other, our earth, and god. The transcendental style, the quest for redemption, a sense of restraint punctuated by violent action--these qualities have dominated Schrader’s career since the publication of Transcendental Stylein Film until 2017, when he updated that text while writing and directing a film about a struggling pastor in a small church in upstate New York. First Reformed also contains nods to his filmic influences, including Robert Bresson, Ingmar Bergman, and his own work on Taxi Driver. This chapter surveys these many influences and self-references to read Schrader’s most recent film as a culmination of his life in film.

Keywords:   Paul Schrader, First Reformed, Transcendental style, Robert Bresson, Ingmar Bergman, Taxi Driver

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