Monday, 27 July 2020

Paul Schrader, Truth, Fiction

Raging Bull (Directed by Martin Scorsese)

Paul Schrader, screenwriter of Mishima, Raging Bull and Patti Hearst, on balancing fiction and history:

Interviewer:  In dealing with truth, how do you decide how far to go with fictionalizing true events?

Paul Schrader: It's a balance. There are two responsibilities, the first is to history as you know it and as you know, history is not a simple thing. We can both walk away from this meeting with two very different versions of what happened, but you have to be very faithful to the facts as you discern them. And secondly you have the responsibility to drama which is not necessarily the traditional truth - it has to do with themes and tensions, the exploration of issues - and at some point you strike a balance and say, "Okay, this is fair enough to history - and this is fair enough to drama, and I'm okay now." You can go over the line, you can do things dramatically that they are such an affront to history that they undermine the credibility and drama of your story.

- Paul Schrader interviewed in Film Freak Central

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