SFIFF: Paul Schrader to be honored in this year’s Kanbar Award

The San Francisco International Film Festival just announced that writer and sometimes director Paul Schrader will receive this year’s Kanbar Award for life achievement in storytelling (previously, it was life achievement in screenwriting).

I guess he’s a good choice. He’s written at least two great films: Taxi Driver and Raging Bull. Both were directed by Martin Scorsese. Since Scorsese has made more great films without Schrader than Schrader has made without Scorsese, one has to assume the director played the more important role in their brilliance.

Other films he’s written include American Gigolo, The Last Temptation of Christ, Blue Collar, and Obsession. Schrader also directed The Canyons, which–from I’ve heard–was one of the major embarrassments of 2013 (I didn’t see it). But he didn’t write that one, and this isn’t an award for directing, so that’s okay.

He’ll be honored at the Kabuki on Tuesday, April 28, at 6:30. I do not know who’s going to interview him.

After the interview, the festival will screen Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters, a film that he wrote and directed in 1985. I saw it at the Mill Valley Film Festival in 2008. My reaction: It’s not so much a great film as several great short films that kind of hang together.