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EXCLUSIVE: Paul Schrader Talks Biopic of Legendary Tiny Dancer Kschessinska

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by Anne Thompson
May 20, 2012 2:32 PM
2 Comments
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Schrader was supposed to direct something in San Juan with Spanish money but the economy collapsed. He and Ellis were commiserating. Schrader told him: "'The stuff you write is about beautiful young people in rooms doing bad things. How expensive is that? You write, I'll direct.' It's the new world. It's like 100 years ago, making it up on the fly, new models, coming up with schemes, which then become codified."

Paul Schrader
Paul Schrader

Schrader is just back from scouting locations in New Zealand for a conventional period film which is selling at Cannes, funded out of New Zealand, but no actor is set yet. Schrader wrote Martin Scorsese's "Taxi Driver" and "Raging Bull," and directed "American Gigolo" and "Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters."

David Weisman co-directed Edie Sedgwick in the ‘60s cult classic "Ciao! Manhattan," then produced the Oscar-winning film "Kiss of the Spider Woman." He is currently working with Schrader, Mushtaq Shiekh and Shah Rukh Khan, on the Bollywood-Hollywood fusion project, "Xtrme City."

Russian entertainment powerhouse Vladimir Vinokur and his partner, the Russian ballet impresario Vladislav Moskalev, are backing "Kschessinska," which is being produced in collaboration with American producers David Weisman and Anatoly Davydov and financed by the V. Vinokur Fund for the Support of Russian Culture & Arts under the auspices of the Kremlin.

Russian comedian, pop-singer, TV-host and actor Vladimir Vinokur established The Vinokur Fund under auspices of the Kremlin.

Bolshoi Ballet backer and entrepreneur Vladislav Moskalev organizes culturally significant charitable events in Russia as well as the global tour of the Kremlin Gala: Ballet Stars of the XXI Century; Moskalev also produced John Daly's 2003 film "St Petersburg-Cannes Express." His business partner Vinokur's Fund has produced documentary films for children on the theme of ballet.

Anatoly Davydov was a Japanese scholar and journalist who became special assistant to Akira Kurosawa on "Dersu Uzala," then worked as technical advisor and actor for Michael Apted on "Gorky Park," for John Schlesinger on "The Falcon and the Snowman," for John McTiernan on "The Hunt for Red October," and for Richard Donner on "The Assassins."

As a bonus, I am pasting for your fun and delectation Schrader's Must-See Top 60 movies of all time (originally published in 2006 in Film Comment).

Gold

1. The Rules of the Game (1939, Jean Renoir)
2. Tokyo Story (1953, Yasujiro Ozu)
3. City Lights (1931, Charles Chaplin)
4. Pickpocket (1959, Robert Bresson)
5. Metropolis (1927, Fritz Lang)
6. Citizen Kane (1941, Orson Welles)
7. Orphée (1950, Jean Cocteau)
8. Masculin-Feminin (1966, Jean-Luc Godard)
9. Persona (1966, Ingmar Bergman)
10. Vertigo (1958, Alfred Hitchcock)
11. Sunrise (1927, F.W. Murnau)
12. The Searchers (1956, John Ford)
13. The Lady Eve (1941, Preston Sturges)
14. The Conformist (1970, Bernardo Bertolucci)
15. 8 ½ (1963, Federico Fellini)
16. The Godfather (1972, Francis Ford Coppola)
17. In the Mood for Love (2000, Wong Kar-wai)
18. The Third Man (1949, Carol Reed)
19. Performance (1970, Donald Cammell/Nicholas Roeg)
20. La Notte (1961, Michelangelo Antonioni) Silver

21. Mother and Son (1997, Alexander Sokurov)
22. The Leopard (1963, Luchino Visconti)
23. The Dead (1987, John Huston)
24. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968, Stanley Kubrick)
25. Last Year at Marienbad (1961, Alain Resnais)
26. The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928, Carl Theodor Dreyer)
27. Jules and Jim (1961, Francois Truffaut)
28. The Wild Bunch (1969, Sam Peckinpah)
29. All That Jazz (1979, Bob Fosse)
30. The Life of Oharu (1952, Kenji Mizoguchi)
31. High and Low (1963, Akira Kurosawa)
32. Sweet Smell of Success (1957, Alexander Mackendrick)
33. That Obscure Object of Desire (1977, Luis Bunuel)
34. An American in Paris (1951, Vincente Minnelli)
35. The Battle of Algiers (1966, Gillo Pontecorvo)
36. Taxi Driver (1976, Martin Scorsese)
37. Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974, Rainer Werner Fassbinder)
38. Blue Velvet (1986, David Lynch)
39. Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989, Woody Allen)
40. The Big Lebowski (1998, Joel Coen)

Bronze

41. The Red Shoes (1948, Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger)
42. Singin' in the Rain (1952, Stanley Donen)
43. Chinatown (1974, Roman Polanski)
44. The Crowd (1928, King Vidor)
45. Sunset Boulevard (1950, Billy Wilder)
46. Talk to Her (2002, Pedro Almodovar)
47. Shanghai Express (1932, Josef von Sternberg)
48. Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948, Max Ophuls)
49. Once Upon a Time in the West (1969, Sergio Leone)
50. Salvatore Giuliano (1962, Francesco Rosi)
51. Nostalghia (1983, Andrei Tarkovsky)
52. Seven Men from Now (1956, Budd Boetticher)
53. Claire's Knee (1970, Eric Rohmer)
54. Earth (1930, Alexander Dovzhenko)
55. Gun Crazy (1949, Joseph H. Lewis)
56. Out of the Past (1947, Jacques Tourneur)
57. Children of Paradise (1945, Marcel Carne)
58. The Naked Spur (1953, Anthony Mann)
59. A Place in the Sun (1951, George Stevens)
60. The General (1927, Buster Keaton)

2 Comments

  • Anne Thompson | May 21, 2012 3:44 AMReply

    I've seen all but five. I need to catch up on Vidor, Rosi, Sokurov, Tarkovsky, Boetticher (I'd have put on "The Tall T.") Did you do the Sight and Sound List? I finally sent off a list, and forgot to include The General, which is usually my number one!
    1. I Know Where I'm Going (Powell)
    2. Lawrence of Arabia (Lean)
    3. High and Low (Kurosawa)
    4. Rio Grande (Ford)
    5. The Lady Eve (Sturges)
    6. Bringing Up Baby (Hawks)
    7. The Apartment (Wilder)
    8. The Wild Bunch (Peckinpah)
    9. Meet Me in St. Louis (Minnelli)
    10. A Clockwork Orange (Kubrick)

  • Sergio | May 20, 2012 7:53 PMReply

    I've seen 50 out of the 60 films listed on Schrader's . Do I get the Silver prize?

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