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Paul Schrader - First Reformed

USA / 108’
language English
cast Ethan Hawke, Amanda Seyfried, Cedric Kyles, Victoria Hill
screenplay Paul Schrader
cinematographer Alexander Dynan
editor Benjamin Rodriguez, Jr.
production designer Grace Yun
costume designer Olga Mill
music Nicci Kasper Brian Williams
sound Michael McMenomy


First Reformed is a film about spiritual life starring Ethan Hawke as the minister of a small, historical and empty church. An ex-military chaplain, Toller is tortured by the loss of a son he encouraged to enlist in the armed forces. As Toller struggles with his faith, he is further challenged after a young couple, Mary and her radical environmentalist husband Michael, come to him for counselling. Consumed by thoughts that the world is being destroyed by big business and discovering the church’s complicity with unscrupulous corporations, Toller embarks on a perilous selfassigned undertaking with the hope that he may finally restore the faith and purpose he’s been longing for in his mission to right the wrongs done to so many.

Director’s Statement

When I was younger, I wrote about and admired films about the spiritual life but I never thought I would make one myself. In 2013 I had dinner with Paweł Pawlikowski, the director of Ida. Walking home afterwards I thought to myself, “It’s time for me to write one of these scripts”. First Reformed is a script I’ve been moving toward for almost fifty years. Once I began it came quite quickly. It had been lying in wait for me. I don’t think an artist should preclude interpretations of his or her work. The task is to evoke those interpretations.

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Biennale Cinema
Biennale Cinema