Director At Venice Film Festival Delivers Grim Message

Actors Amanda Seyfried, left, and Ethan Hawke pose for photographers upon arrival for the press conference of the film 'First Reformed' during the 74th edition of the Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy, Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)

VENICE, Italy — Hurricane Harvey’s inundation of Houston has driven home the devastating power of nature, and added urgency to questions about humanity’s effect on the environment.

Thousands of miles away in sunny Italy, ecological devastation drives a crisis of faith in Paul Schrader’s “First Reformed,” which has its world premiere Thursday at the Venice Film Festival.

It’s one of several films in Venice exploring catastrophic environmental effects. Ai Weiwei’s documentary “Human Flow” and Alexander Payne’s sci-fi story “Downsizing” also depict the profound human impact of a changing climate.

Schrader isn’t surprised the specter of environmental cataclysm is preying on many minds, including his.

He says that “if you’re hopeful about humanity and the planet, you’re not paying attention.”

The 71-year-old director says ominously that “I don’t see humanity outliving this century.”

(AP)