“Although religious symbols and themes have often found their way into Schrader’s film work, First Reformed marks the first time he has applied elements of transcendental style—as extolled in his seminal book Transcendental Style in Film—to his own filmmaking. Early in his career, Schrader was occupied with exploring the pathological lure of sex and violence in narrative cinema,” Aliza Ma wrote in her review of Paul Schrader’s First Reformed for our May/June issue. As part of our Film Comment Free Talks series, Schrader joined Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold for a conversation about the twists and turns and leaps in the writer-director’s career—from starting out as a critic and UCLA film student in the ’60s, to writing screenplays for Taxi Driver and Last Temptation of Christ, to directing films from Blue Collar through First Reformed. This week’s podcast captures the discussion. (Please note: the audio is at times slightly imperfect due to an unforeseeable technical snafu.)

Looking ahead, our Film Comment Free Talks continue on July 17 with filmmaker Boots Riley, director of the much-anticipated satire Sorry to Bother You, starring Lakeith Stanfield and Tessa Thompson.