Friday, October 5, 2012

Director Quotes Relay

David from Taste of Cinema started a relay race we share some of our favorite quotes from filmmakers. Josh from The Cinematic Spectacle kindly passed the baton to me.

Here's David's explanation of the relay race: 
People love wisdom from great minds. As a cinephile, I prefer director quotes more than words from any other group of people in the world. Their thoughts on cinema not only provide insights into a deep understanding of cinema, but also open the window to their own films, their genres, and their filmmaking methods, thus the need to receive more exposure as their films did.

The rules have been altered, but basically the one rule is simple: 
Replace one director and their respective quote with one of your own.

Here’s who's participated in the Relay Race so far:
David at Taste Of Cinema
Chris at Movies And Songs 365
Alex at And So It Begins...
Josh from The Cinematic Spectacle

Here are the quotes:

I added my comments in italics.

“I steal from every single movie ever made. I love it – if my work has anything it’s that I’m taking this from this and that from that and mixing them together. If people don’t like that, then tough titty, don’t go and see it, all right? I steal from everything. Great artists steal; they don’t do homages.” – Quentin Tarantino
"They don't do homages." Hah! I love that. And I love the fact that Tarantino seems to be just as in-your-face crazy as you'd expect him to me. Also, I haven't heard anyone use the phrase "tough titty" since about 1978.

“Unlike all the other art forms, film is able to seize and render the passage of time, to stop it, almost to possess it in infinity. I’d say that film is the sculpting of time.” – Andrei Tarkovsky
That is gorgeous!

“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
So true. I think that's why trying to explain the meaning of a great film in words is often such a challenge. 

“Why make a movie about something one understands completely? I make movies about things I do not understand, but wish to.” – Seijun Suzuki
So true. I think this speaks volumes about fiction writing, too. 

 “An essential element of any art is risk. If you don’t take a risk then how are you going to make something really beautiful, that hasn’t been seen before?” – Francis Ford Coppola

“I don’t like the idea of ‘understanding’ a film. I don’t believe that rational understanding is an essential element in the reception of any work of art. Either a film has something to say to you or it hasn’t. If you are moved by it, you don’t need it explained to you. If not, no explanation can make you moved by it.” – Federico Fellini

“When I make a film, I never stop uncovering mysteries, making discoveries. When I’m writing, filming, editing, even doing promotional work, I discover new things about the film, about myself, and about others. That is what I’m subconsciously looking for when shooting a film: to glimpse the enigmas of life, even if I don’t resolve them, but at least to uncover them. Cinema is curiosity in the most intense meaning of the word.” – Pedro Almodovar
Filmmaking is a process that largely takes place in the subconscious, isn't it?

“All my movies are about strange worlds that you can't go into unless you build them and film them. That's what's so important about film to me. I just like going into strange worlds.” - David Lynch

“Either I did away with that fear through writing, or in the course of writing, I discovered it was no longer so intrusive or threatening. The bottom line is, it’s gone.” – Ingmar Bergman
Yes, yes, YES!

"You make films to give people something, to transport them somewhere else, and it doesn't matter if you transport them to a world of intuition or a world of intellect...The realm of superstitions, fortune-telling, presentiments, intuition, dreams, all this is the inner life of a human being, and all this is the hardest thing to film...I've been trying to get there from the beginning. I'm somebody who doesn't know, somebody who's searching." – Krzysztof Kieslowski
I love this! It captures so much of what's expressed in these other quotes, and it does it more beautifully.

What I'm Taking Out: It's a terrific quote by an iconic film-maker, but I think the others already speak volumes about what it means to have a unique vision.

 “An essential element of any art is risk. If you don’t take a risk then how are you going to make something really beautiful, that hasn’t been seen before?” – Francis Ford Coppola
What I'm Adding: There weren't any quotes yet by female directors, so I thought it was time to mix things up a bit. ;-)

I wonder whether my bleak-o-meter is set differently from other people's. I have such passion for what I do that I can't see it as bleak. When people use that word, or "grim" or "gritty," I just think, "Oh, come on, look a bit deeper." My films don't give you an easy ride. I can see that. The sense I get is that people have quite a physical experience with them. They feel afterwards that they've really been through something. -- Andrea Arnold
This is a bit different in tone from the other quotes on the list. It says a lot about why I loved the edgy realism in Fish Tank and about my tastes in movies and fiction. There are many things I love about books and films -- one of them is the opportunity to delve deeply into the fictional -- but very "real" -- lives of others and have a visceral experience while doing it.

Who I’m Passing it To: Brittani Burnham at Rambling Film.


  1. Yay! Kieslowski's still in! :)

    Great pick. I love Andrea Arnold's work, and this quote captures her filmmaking in inspiring fashion.

    Looking forward to Brittani's choice.

    1. I had to keep the Kieslowski quote, because I love it so much.

  2. This is a very unique pick,which also reminds me of a quote by Terry Gilliam,it's something like "I don't care if the audiences loved or hated my films,as long as they gave them strong reactions".

    1. Interesting quote by Terry Gilliam. Thanks for hosting this, David.

  3. Nice to see a female director on here. I'm curious to see Arnold's adaptation of Wuthering Heights, she seems to be a director who's not afraid to take risks.

    1. I'm very interested in her version of Wuthering Heights, too. Actually I'm just interested in an interpretation of that story -- and the weird relationship between Cathy and Heathcliff -- from a modern woman's perspective.

    2. Which WH adaptation have you seen? I've only seen the Timothy Dalton version as I love him as an actor, but I didn't care for the actress playing Cathy. I might give the Ralph Fiennes one a try.

    3. I'm not sure, because I was just a kid, but I'm pretty sure I saw the old one, from before the Timothy Dalton era. I also read the novel. And I have never seen a performance by Ralph Fiennes that I didn't like!

  4. You like Andrea Arnold?!?! Wow, my stock in you just sky rocketed haha, and it was already damn high! I LOVE her films, including her shorts. That is a truly great choice there. And I love your comment to my Bergman quote!

    1. Always glad to boost my reputation. ;-) Honestly, I've only seen Fish Tank so far, but I was very impressed. I want to watch her other movies, including short films.

      Love the Bergman quote because it speaks volumes about why we feel driven to write/create.

  5. Nicely done, great quote you added, Stephanie. A female voice was indeed lacking. Fishtank is a film that has that "stay with you quality".

    Red Road (2006) is on my list, the reviews are mainly positive on rotten tomatoes, so looks to be worth the time.

    Long live the relay race!

  6. Thanks, Chris! I absolutely agree that Fish Tank has that "stay with you" quality. Red Road is on my list, too.


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