FNE at Venice 2021: Competition: Paul Schrader’s The Card Counter

    The Card Counter by Paul Schrader The Card Counter by Paul Schrader

    VENICE: Director Paul Schrader arrives in competition at 78th Venice IFF with The Card Counter staring Oscar Isaac, Tiffany Haddish, Tye Sheridan and Willem Dafoe. The 75 year old Schrader who shot to fame 45 years ago as the scriptwriter of Taxi Driver has had a long and distinguished career as both director and scriptwriter. Most recently his 2017 film First Reformer brought him kudos and acclaim and an Oscar nomination. Schrader has also written the screenplay for the film and his Venice entry is hotly anticipated.

    The story revolves around William Tell played by Oscar Isaac, who is an ex-military interrogator living under the radar as a low-stakes gambler. Tell’s meticulous life is thrown into disarray when he encounters Cirk, played by Tye Sheridan, a young man looking to commit revenge against a mutual enemy. With backing from mysterious financier La Linda, Tell takes Cirk on the casino circuit to set him on a new path. However, he finds that the ghosts of the past will not release him so easily. Other main characters are Tiffany Haddish who plays La Linda, the poker agent and Willem Dafoe who plays Gordo.

    Speaking at the press conference in Venice Schrader talked about the mysterious leading character William Tell emphasising the importance of the character in his films. He said “Your anchor is the character and the character will take you where it will.”  In his director’s statement Schrader was somewhat mysterious “William Tell is a man alone in his motel room. He plays poker. It passes the time. He bears a weight. Then something happens.”

    Meanwhile Oscar Isaac who plays the leading character William Tell said he found the character mysterious.

    Focus Features is releasing the film in the USA on 10 September, following its Venice Competition premiere.

    Production: Braxton Pope, Astrakan Film (Lauren Mann), David Wulf, Saturn Streaming, Redline Entertainment in association with LB Entertainment, Enriched, Media Group, Grandave Capital, One Two Twenty Entertainment
    Country: USA, UK, China
    Main Cast: Oscar Isaac, Tiffany Haddish, Tye Sheridan, Willem Dafoe