FIRST REFORMED: A Spiritual Film, Not A Faith-Based Movie (ANALYSIS)


As someone who was raised in the church but, as a filmmaker, chose to explore the profane, writer/director Paul Schrader wrote the book on what a spiritual film is. He just never made one: until now.

With First Reformed, the screenwriter of several Martin Scorsese classics (including Taxi Driver and Raging Bull) and director of various lurid tales of his own, Schrader has finally employed the spiritual filmmaking techniques he wrote about in his early 1970s book “Transcendental Style In Film”.

In an essay for, I put First Reformed into context, looking at Schrader’s personal background and film career, define what Transcendental cinema is, and how that differs from what Schrader has ever done before.

You can read the full analysis here.

You can read my review of First Reformed here, or listen to our discussion here on The Bad and the Beautiful podcast.

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