Ethan Hawke

In Venice, 'First Reformed' asks: Is God an ecologist?

Two crises unfold in Paul Schrader's movie "First Reformed," which had its world premiere Thursday at the Venice Film Festival — one spiritual, the other environmental.

It's one of several films exploring the effects of climate change and environmental degradation at a festival that's taking place as, across the Atlantic, former Hurricane Harvey is demonstrating the devastating power of nature.

Like Schrader's film, Ai Weiwei's documentary "Human Flow" and Alexander Payne's sci-fi story "Downsizing" look at the profound impacts on humanity of a changing climate.

Schrader is not surprised the topic is on many minds, including his....