QUOTES THAT GUIDE US
“A film is – or should be – more like music than like fiction. It should be a progression of moods and feelings. The theme, what’s behind the emotion, the meaning, all that comes later.” –Stanley Kubrick
“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost.” —Martha Graham
“In truly great films — the ones that people need to make, the ones that start speaking through them, the ones that keep moving into territory that is more and more unfathomable and uncomfortable — nothing’s ever simple or neatly resolved. You’re left with a mystery.” –Martin Scorsese
“Never try to convey your idea to the audience. It is a thankless and senseless task. Show them life, and they’ll find within themselves the means to assess and appreciate it.” –Andrei Tarkovsky.
“I have thus decided to make a certain film and now begins the complicated and difficult-to-master work. To transfer rhythms, moods, atmosphere, tensions, sequences, tones and scents into words and sentences in a readable or at least understandable script. This is difficult but not impossible.” –Ingmar Bergman
“Cinécriture means “cine-writing.” I say that many times because people say when they speak about a film, they say, “It’s well-written.” They think about the dialogue, which can be well-written or bad. For me, a film is not written by the screenplay or the dialogue, it’s written by the way of the filming. The choices that you have to make between still shot or traveling shot, color or black-and-white, speedy way of acting or slow-motion or whatever, all these choices, and the lens you choose, and the camera you choose, and then the editing, and then the music or not, and the mixing—all these choices all the way through the film, all through the making of the film, that’s what cine-writing is. It’s like the style in a way. I never say “it’s well-written” because I know then people think about dialogue. So, I say, “it’s well cine-written.” –Agnès Varda
“If it’s a good movie, the sound could go off and the audience would still have a perfectly clear idea of what was going on.” –Alfred Hitchcock
“You have to really be courageous about your instincts and your ideas. Otherwise you’ll just knuckle under, and things that might have been memorable will be lost.” –Francis Ford Coppola
“If you’re not allowed to experiment anymore for fear of being considered self-indulgent or pretentious or what have you, then everyone’s going to just stick to the rules — there’s not going to be any additional ideas.” – Francis Ford Coppola
“Maybe it is worth investigating the unknown, if only because the very feeling of not knowing is a painful one.” –Krzysztof Kieslowski
“I don’t give a fuck what anybody says. If you don’t have time to see it, don’t. If you don’t like it, don’t. If it doesn’t give you an answer, fuck you. I didn’t make it for you anyway.” — John Cassavetes
“To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.” –E.E. Cummings
“A film is never really good unless the camera is an eye in the head of a poet.” –Orson Welles
“Art has to be severe. It cannot be commercial. It cannot be for the producer or even for the public. It has to be for oneself.” –Vittorio De Sica
“Not only is the motion picture an art, but it is the one entirely new art that has been evolved on this planet for hundreds of years. It is the only art at which we of this generation have any possible chance to greatly excel.” –Raymond Chandler
“I’ve just begun to dare to think I perhaps am a bit of an artist.” –David Lean
“The producer beating a new path for himself through the wilderness is going to do the thing ‘differently,’ of course. But after a while, he looks about him. The territory is unfamiliar, the forest ahead forbidding. Just how ‘different’ dare he be? He looks at his resources, and then at the established successes of the past. He suddenly realizes he must play safe, be sure. The unknown is a gamble; the known isn’t—at least comparatively. The safest plan, obviously, is to follow the trailblazers. So he produces an imitation of one of the current successes. Usually it is a mediocre imitation.” –Irving Thalberg
“There’s going to be no more digital enhancements or digital additions to anything based on any film I direct. I’m not going to do any corrections digitally to even wires that show… If 1941 comes on Blu-ray I’m not going to go back and take the wires out because the Blu-ray will bring the wires out that are guiding the airplane down Hollywood Blvd. At this point right now I think letting movies exist in the era, with all the flaws and all of the flourishes, is a wonderful way to mark time and mark history.” –Steven Spielberg
“A filmmaker has almost as much freedom as a novelist has when he buys himself some paper.” –Stanley Kubrick
“[The way Stanley Kubrick] tells a story is antithetical to the way we are accustomed to receiving stories.” –Steven Spielberg
“[Kubrick] was unique in the sense that with each new film he redefined the medium and its possibilities. But he was more than just a technical innovator. Like all visionaries, he spoke the truth. And no matter how comfortable we think we are with the truth, it always comes as a profound shock when we’re forced to meet it face-to-face.” –Martin Scorsese
“[David Lean’s] images stay with me forever. But what makes them memorable isn’t necessarily their beauty. That’s just good photography. It’s the emotion behind those images that’s meant the most to me over the years. It’s the way David Lean can put feeling on film. The way he shows a whole landscape of the spirit. For me, that’s the real geography of David Lean country. And that’s why, in a David Lean movie, there’s no such thing as an empty landscape.” –-Martin Scorsese
“If Kubrick had lived to see the opening of his final film, he obviously would have been disappointed by the hostile reactions. But I’m sure that in the end he would have taken it with a grain of salt and moved on. That’s the lot of all true visionaries, who don’t see the use of working in the same vein as everyone else. Artists like Kubrick have minds expansive and dynamic enough to picture the world in motion, to comprehend not just where its been, but where it’s going.” —Martin Scorsese
“I know, of course, that by using film we can bring in other previously unknown worlds, realities beyond reality.” –Ingmar Bergman
“Always make your work be personal. And, you never have to lie… There is something we know that’s connected with beauty and truth. There is something ancient. We know that art is about beauty, and therefore it has to be about truth.” —Francis Ford Coppola
”The essence of dramatic form is to let an idea come over people without it being plainly stated. When you say something directly, it’s simply not as potent as it is when you allow people to discover it for themselves.” –Stanley Kubrick
“I just finished a film a few days ago, and I came home and said I learned so much today. So if I can come home from working on a little film after doing it for 45 years and say, I learned so much today, that shows something about the cinema. Because the cinema is very young. It’s only 100 years old.” –Francis Ford Coppola
“In America, even the critics – which is a pity – tend to genre-ize things. They have a hard time when genres get mixed. They want to categorize things. That’s why I love Wes Anderson’s films and the Coen Brothers, because you don’t know what you’re going to get, and very often you get something that you don’t expect and that’s just what a genre’s not supposed to do.” –Francis Ford Coppola
“If you’re not failing every now and again, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything very innovative.” –Woody Allen
“Most people don’t know what they want or feel. And for everyone, myself included, It’s very difficult to say what you mean when what you mean is painful. The most difficult thing in the world is to reveal yourself, to express what you have to… As an artist, I feel that we must try many things – but above all, we must dare to fail. You must have the courage to be bad – to be willing to risk everything to really express it all.” –John Cassavetes
“I know what I am talking about because I have been subjected to so-styled literary judgement. This is about as intelligent as letting a music critic judge an exhibition of paintings or a football reporter criticize a new play. The only reason for any and everyone believing himself capable of pronouncing a valid judgement on motion pictures is the inability of the film to assert itself as an art form, its need of a definite artistic vocabulary, its extreme youth in relation to other arts, its obvious ties with economic realities, its direct appeal to feelings. All this causes the motion picture to be regarded with disdain, the directness of expression of the motion picture makes it suspect in certain eyes, and as a result any and everyone thinks himself competent to say anything he likes in whatever way he likes on film art.” –Ingmar Bergman
“Many imagine that a commercial film industry lacks morality or that its morals are so definitely based on immorality that an artistically ethical standpoint cannot be maintained on anything so lacking. Our work is assigned to businessmen, who at times regard it with apprehension as motion pictures have to do with something as unreliable as art.
“If many regard our activity as dubious, I must emphasise that its morality is as good as any and so absolute that it could almost cause us embarrassment. However, I have found that I am like the Englishman in the tropics, who shaves and dresses for dinner every day. He does not do this to please the wild animals but for his own sake. If he gives up his discipline then the jungle has beaten him.
“I know that I shall have lost to the jungle if I take a weak moral standpoint or relax my mental punctiliousness. I have therefore come to a certain belief which is based on three powerful effective commandments: THOU SHALT BE ENTERTAINING AT ALL TIMES. THOU SHALT OBEY THY ARTISTIC CONSCIENCE AT ALL TIMES. THOU SHALT MAKE EACH FILM AS IF IT WERE THY LAST.“ –Ingmar Bergman
“Given the competition with commercial cinema, a director has a particular responsibility toward his audiences. I mean by this that because of cinema’s unique power to affect an auditorium – in the identification of the screen with life – the most meaningless, unreal commercials film can have just the same kind of magical effect on the uncritical and uneducated cinema-goer as that derived by his discerning counterpart from a real film. The tragic and crucial difference that if art can stimulate emotions and ideas, mass-appeal cinema, because of its easy, irresistible effect, extinguishes all traces of thought and feeling irrevocably.” –Andrei Tarkovsky
“I purposely separated the scenes with a pause—not silence, maybe some music and noise—just some time for the viewer to react to what he just saw. Is he disturbed? Does he agree? Is it painful or curious? And then we go again. I intentionally gave the viewer the distance to remain himself or herself, and enjoy what they saw and be themselves the way that they look at it. I think it’s very important, but it cannot be in action films, which are very, very [makes her hands shake]—the story grabs you so much that you are just into the story from the beginning to the end. You are hooked. You are addicted. I was trying to make a cinema in which people are not “stolen.” I don’t steal you. I like people to remain themselves in the theater and feel that maybe they’ll enjoy themselves, maybe they’ll cry, but that they’ll have something to say. That seems what’s important to me. Even in Vagabond, you have these witnesses speaking. Then she walks. When she walks, there are no words. While she walks, 13 times in the film for one minute, you have time to yourself to feel something about her. Or maybe you don’t like her. You have no sympathy for her because she is not sympathetic. Maybe you feel sorry for her. Maybe you feel mad at her, et cetera. And I like the idea that you remain yourself, conscious of who you are.” –Agnès Varda
“The directing of a picture involves coming out of your individual loneliness and taking a controlling part in putting together a small world. A picture is made. You put a frame around it and move on. And one day you die. That is all there is to it.” –John Huston
“I love editing. I think I like it more than any other phase of film making. If I wanted to be frivolous, I might say that everything that precedes editing is merely a way of producing film to edit.” –Stanley Kubrick
“Thank you to the Academy for giving this award to a movie that was made without compromise. We didn’t have any preview screenings or focus groups or studio notes. Everybody made the movie we wanted to make and it turned out great, so I’m glad everybody liked it.” –editor Bob Murawski on THE HURT LOCKER
“I have ten commandments. The first nine are, thou shalt not bore. The tenth is, thou shalt have right of final cut.” –Billy Wilder
“When I choose to work on a film, the most important thing to me is that it is about human feelings. I try to work with directors who want their films to touch the audience, & make people discuss what the film was about long after they have left the cinema.” –Robby Müller
“My movies are painfully personal, but I’m never trying to let you know how personal they are. It’s my job to make it be personal, and also to disguise that so only I or the people who know me know how personal it is. ‘Kill Bill’ is a very personal movie…. It’s my job to invest in it and hide it inside of genre…. Most of it should be subconscious, if the work is coming from a special place. If I’m thinking and maneuvering that pen around, then that’s me doing it. I really should let the characters take it. But the characters are different facets of me, or maybe they’re not me, but they are coming from me. So when they take it, that’s just me letting my subconscious rip.” –Quentin Tarantino
“The only way to get rid of my fears is to make films about them.” –Alfred Hitchcock
“Those reliable axioms about the taste and expectations of the mass movie audience are not so much laws of nature as artifacts of corporate strategy. And the lessons derived from them conveniently serve to strengthen a status quo that increasingly marginalizes risk, originality and intelligence.” –A.O. Scott
“What kind of person constantly demands something new and yet always wants the same thing? A child of course. From toddlerhood we are fluent in the pop-cultural consumerist idiom: Again! More! Another one! …Children are ceaselessly demanding, it’s true; but they are also easily satisfied, and this combination of appetite and docility makes the child an ideal moviegoer. But since there are a finite number of literal children out there, with limited disposable income and short attention spans, Hollywood has to make or find new ones. And so the studios have, with increasing vigor and intensity, carried out a program of mass infantilization.” –A.O. Scott
“Marketing is a very good thing, but it shouldn’t control everything. It should be the tool, not that which dictates.” –Nicolas Roeg
“It’s like [marketing] is the opening-credit sequence of the film. It sets the tone. There’s a way to approach this where you want to make as much money as possible. I get that. But I think if we’re willing to just have some integrity and some earnestness, we get to do something better and something we can be proud of. It’s a continuation of storytelling. When you’re writing a story, you can just write the bits that an author cares about or that I would care about: What’s the exploration? What’s the subtext? You can write it out, and it would be this dry, boring thing that may or may not be true, may or may not be important, but it’s certainly not compelling. And you can tell a story that has none of that stuff and it’s titillating moment by moment, but that’s pretty much worthless because what’s the point? So a narrative has to have both of these things. I’m already in the business of trying to be compelling and making a case for people to look at this thing, so I feel like I would like to try what’s called marketing, but it’s a continuation of storytelling. We’re getting to the film, and here’s… the overture.” –Shane Carruth
“Life is very, very complicated, and so films should be allowed to be, too.” –David Lynch
“If we didn’t want to upset anyone, we would make films about sewing, but even that could be dangerous. But I think finally, in a film, it is how the balance is and the feelings are. But I think there has to be those contrasts and strong things within a film for the total experience.” –David Lynch
”I think that one of the problems with twentieth-century art is its preoccupation with subjectivity and originality at the expense of everything else. This has been especially true in painting and music. Though initially stimulating, this soon impeded the full development of any particular style, and rewarded uninteresting and sterile originality. At the same time, it is very sad to say, films have had the opposite problem — they have consistently tried to formalize and repeat success, and they have clung to a form and style introduced in their infancy. The sure thing is what everyone wants, and originality is not a nice word in this context
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. This is true despite the repeated example that nothing is as dangerous as a sure thing.” –Stanley Kubrick
“See, a painting is much cheaper than making a film. And photography is, you know, way cheap. So if I get an idea for a film, there are many ways to get it together and go realise that film. There’s really nothing to be afraid of.” –David Lynch
“The good news is, whether they love them or hate them, they are my films. Frame for frame, I feel such a sense of luck that I get films made the exact way I want them. All my friends who became the biggest stars, directors are always complaining that they can’t get this or that done. I think I’m the luckiest person in this town.” –Henry Jaglom
“Sometimes films ignore other points of view because it’s simpler to tell the story that way, but the more genuine and sympathetic you are to different points of view and situations, the more real the story is.” –Ang Lee
”Technically U.S. directors keep improving. But this technical expertise hides an emptiness that keeps getting bigger. They’re very good at saying nothing.” –Gillo Pontecorvo
“If movies are dreams, and if dreams represent disguised wishes, then Hollywood movies, created by many hands under high economic pressure, disguise the wishes of something like the hive mind of capitalism. The symbols and myths in a box-office hit contain fantasies that many people want to believe, or that their socioeconomic superiors want them to believe. An interpreter may enjoy exposing a hit movie’s fantasy, but he would usually be wrong to mistake what he finds there for an artist’s vision of the world.” –Caleb Crain, The New Yorker
Taking inspiration from my daughter who had learned the very same tricks from me, I decided to return to my youth, and realizing that the smaller the budget of a film the greater the ideas of that film could be, began to self-finance the very kinds of films I had hoped to make at the beginning. It was like trying to find myself, and my place, after being away a long time.” —Francis Ford Coppola