Robert Bresson and Paul Schrader chat about TAXI DRIVER
i found this bit of dialogue, from an interview presumably conducted in the spring of 1976, in James Quandt’s book Robert Bresson.i was digging around doing research for a spectacularly useless essay i wrote last week called: “The World is Flat: Au Hasard Balthazar and Filming the Divine,” and i was struck by Schrader’s confidence at Taxi Driver winning the Palme D’Or (it did), and how Scorsese’s friendship with De Niro inspired his confidence.
“… The last scene of the movie should play on the sidewalk outside the theater. And the movie should insight your imagination to the degree that you walk outside and start talking and arguing about it with someone else. If the film answers all the questions for you, I don’t find it terribly interesting. A lot of people go to movies for just that reason—not to think. They go to the movies to blank out. I understand the temptation of that. It’s a powerful temptation. It’s the same reason you play slot machines: you don’t really play to win, you play to blank out. I just don’t find that much of a reason to make a movie, to provide people with a narcotic to blot out two hours of their lives.”