Schrader wrote Martin Scorsese’s “Taxi Driver” and “The Last Temptation of Christ” and co-wrote “Raging Bull.” He has directed dozens of films, including “American Gigolo,” “Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters,” “The Comfort of Strangers” and “First Reformed.” The director was in Venice last year with “The Card Counter,” starring Oscar Isaac and Tiffany Haddish, which has been a critical and box office success.
In accepting the honor Schrader stated: “I am deeply honored. Venice is the Lion of my heart.”
Venice artistic director Alberto Barbera in a statement praised Schrader for having “revolutionized the imagination, aesthetics, and language of American film,” starting in the late 1960s.
“It is not an exaggeration to affirm that he is one of the most important American filmmakers of his generation, a director who is deeply influenced by European film and culture, and a stubbornly independent screenwriter who nonetheless knows how to work on commission and confidently move within the Hollywood system,” Barbera said.
“The daring visual stylization that informs all his movies puts him among the most up-to-date exponents of a type of cinema that is unreconciled and subtly investigates contemporaneity,” Barbera added, going on to note that Schrader “not only continues to work, but in recent years he has also given us some of his most beautiful films.”
The President of the Venice Biennale Roberto Cicutto underlined that Venice’s upcoming 79th edition brings with it a very important other anniversary.
“It was 1932 when the first edition of the oldest film festival in the world was held on the terrace of the Hotel Excelsior,” he said. “So this year the Venice Film Festival [actually] celebrates its 90th anniversary,” Cicutto pointed out, given that due to historical events 11 editions of the fest did not take place.
“But this anniversary is yet another gift that the Venice Film Festival offers to the Golden Lion Paul Schrader, the multifaceted film auteur.”
Last year’s Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement was presented to Italian actor-director Roberto Benigni.
The 79th edition of Venice will run Aug. 31 through Sept. 10.