Paul Schrader Talks Xavier Dolan’s Influence on ‘The Canyons’

Paul Schrader is a hell of a character. As one the most iconic and notorious film folk to emerge out of the glory days of 1970s American cinema, whether it’s his screenwriting or directing, his work has always been something to devour. Of course, some work has been better than others—and in my mind nothing could quite beat Taxi Driver, but that’s a slightly unfair statement. However, after I ran into Paul two years ago and he urged me to look at his phone while a Facebook page for his new project, The Canyons loaded, I’ve been keeping a close and anxious eye on the smutty melodrama, penned by satirical writer of yuppie drama Bret Easton Ellis. 

And with the film now premiering later this summer Schrader has been vocal about his experience working on the film and in a new interview with The Seventh Art, he spends some time expressing his inspirations, namely his love for the young and brilliant Xavier Dolan. As huge fans of Dolan, we’ve been covering his latest epic drama Laurence Anyways (extensive interview to come next week) for some time now, but it seems Schrader’s affinity lies in Dolan’s second film the highly-stylized Heartbeats.
Speaking to the film, Dolan told us in an interview back in 2011 that: "The film is about the way we magnify people when we’re in love—walking down the street feeling like we’re floating, hence the slow motion, the music, the costumes, the colors. A lot of people said it was a case of style over substance, but being in love is often a case of style over substance." And as for Schrader, his inspiration came from his belief that:
There is no style anymore. This guy from Montreal, this young kid, Xavier Dolan had made this film, Heartbeats. I liked the film and I looked at it again, and I realized, “He’s going from scene to scene, changing his style based on the scene. A Godard-ian thing, now he’s doing a Hollywood thing, now he’s doing kind of a Bertolucci thing … He keeps changing, and he doesn’t really care if one scene doesn’t match the scene before it. And I said, there’s nothing wrong with that, that’s where we are, that’s the new kind of style.”
See the interview in its entirety below.

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