It was the Audiences That Were Better

Great interview with master director and screenwriter Paul Schrader over at Little White Lies, including this gem:

People talk about the ‘Golden Age’ of Hollywood in the late ’60s and early ’70s. It wasn’t that the films were better or the filmmakers were better, it was the audiences that were better. It was a time of social stress and audiences turned to artists for answers. What do you think about women’s rights? What do you think about the war? The moment that a society turns to artists for answers, great art will emerge. It’s just that simple. It just happens. Back then, movies were at the centre of the cultural conversation. Bonnie and Clyde was smack in the centre, so was The Godfather. Now today, a great number of younger people, my children for example, do not think that movies are important. When audiences don’t think movies are important, it’s very hard to make important movies. That’s the difference.

I had the great fortune and pleasure to have a few drinks with Mr. Schrader a few years ago, after a screening of his magnificent Mishima. If you ever get the chance to listen to his stories around the making of that film, or Taxi Driver, take it. Trust me, you won't regret it.