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'Hollywood cinema losing sheen against TV'

American writer-director Paul Joseph Schrader of Taxi Driver fame feels Hollywood cinema is losing sheen as TV has become more popular due to quality writing for the smaller screen.
By Robin Bansal | IANS, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUL 15, 2008 11:30 AM IST

American writer-director Paul Joseph Schrader of Taxi Driver fame feels Hollywood cinema is losing sheen as TV has become more popular due to quality writing for the smaller screen.

"Most Hollywood movies are just about spectacles. The weakest American writing is done for movies and the best work here is done for cable TV," Schrader told IANS Sunday.

"Movies have become less and less appealing whereas TV has become more and more grabbing. It is all about human beings and their emotions and not journeys to the ends of the earth unlike the movies."

Schrader is in India after almost two decades for a special screening of his Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters at the ongoing 10th Osian's-Cinefan Film Fest here. He first travelled to India in 1989 to showcase his film Patty Hearst at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI).

Speaking on the sidelines of the fourth day of 11-day gala here, Shrader said: "Hollywood is not expanding as a matter of content. I don't even prefer calling them movies anymore. I'd call them audio-visual entertainment now," Schrader added.

Asked if he'd shift to the smaller screen then, he replied: "If I were only a writer, I'd have shifted to television but I'm also a director. I have written two scripts this year."

Paul Schrader is the brother of Leonard Schrader, legendary scriptwriter-director with whom he collaborated on the screenplays of The Yakuza, Blue Collar and Mishima.... Although his first film, The Yakuza(1975) failed commercially, it brought him to the attention of the new generation of Hollywood directors.

However, Schrader doesn't feel he is much of a writer. "I am not a real writer. Real writers write everyday. I don't write until I know virtually everything in my head. I wait for months working on an idea and then spend 3-4 weeks on a script."

He went on to add in a jocular mood: "Also I don't get asked to write that much. Hiring a writer who's directed 18 films might be too expensive."

Schrader's next movie Adam's Resurrection with Jeff Goldblum in the lead is expected to hit the screens later this year. It is an Israeli-German co-production based on a darkly comic 1969 novel by popular Israeli author Yoram Kaniuk Israeli. The movie tells the story of Adam Stein, a Jewish-German clown.

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