Quotes

ADAM CURTIS

“Art can be completely obscure. Even I sometimes don’t understand it at all, as if it’s deliberately hard to understand. And yes, the other type is a sort of benign, soft art. The real issue for art at the moment is that not only has it not changed the world for better, it may partially be responsible for the counter-reaction from Trump supporters. The elitist, obscure, rather smug art that we’ve had over the last five or six years is part of the sort of metropolitan stubbornness that Brexit reacted against in my country, and that the Trump voters reacted against in your country. I’m not criticizing the actual art that many people produce. Some of it is very good, and beautiful, and moving. It’s just that the way in which it’s done, through self-expression, tends to actually have a much deeper effect on society than what the artist necessarily intended. What I’m really questioning is whether the function of art is to change the world, or whether its function is really to express what is happening in the world in a really clear way. Ever since the 1960s there has been this idea that the function of art is to change the world, and it will do so by changing the way people think and see. Whereas I think, if you look at the history of art, really brilliant art steps back and shows to you clearly what really is going on in the world you live in, in a vivid, imaginative way.”
~ Adam Curtis

Alejandro Jodorowsky

“For six years, every day, I have been doing 250 tweets. It’s like the Japanese haiku. You can make a poem with just a few characters. You can make it philosophical, psychological. It’s a spiritual form. My father believed that when you die you rot and are finished. I do not have a metaphysical upbringing, but I cannot say God does not exist. Life is not ‘by chance’. Like a monkey we cannot understand it. But step by step, through our lives, we see so many synchronicities and synergies, so many miracles. There is a union in everything. Church, though, the organised church. That is a political and economic sector. Very bad! My church is polyvalent. It contains all the arts! Not just arts. You have philosophy, science, psychology, as well as music, sculpture, architecture, dance. You have everything. My goal is not money, and not taking money. Not when it goes against what I want to do. I must refuse to change a word or an image. Even if I have to be a sacred beggar. It is art, and art is life. We need to take a risk to lose everything!”
~ Alejandro Jodorowsky

Ari Emanuel

“I wanted to tell Ovitz to his face, so I went into his office and said, “I’m trying to see Mike Ovitz.” I was told, “He’s not going to see you.” But I walked into his office anyway. Now, at the time, Mike Ovitz was God, and I was just a fucking street urchin. And he says, “I’m not seeing you.” I said, “I’ll be back in ten minutes and you’re going to deal with me then.” When I walk back in, there’s [CAA agent] Lee Gabler and [head of business affairs] Ray Kurtzman standing there with him. Ray liked me a lot, so I was calm and said, “Listen, it’s been great, but I’ve got to leave.” And then Mike gives me, “We’re going to kill you guys and your careers are going to be over.” I turned to him, got out of my Chinese chair, Japanese chair, whatever, and said, “Are you threatening me?” And I grabbed the chair with my hands and picked it up and said, “Because if you are, I’ll fucking throw this chair right out of here right now. Don’t threaten me.” I was an idiot. I was a complete moron. You don’t do that stuff, but I’ve been a fighter all my life.”
~ Ari Emanuel

Armond White

Wiener-Dog > The Lobster
“Todd Solondz’s symbolic dachshund traverses three tales of human will, observing fragmentation nationwide with breathtaking boldness and humor; Yorgos Lanthimos’ self-congratulatory Kubrick-derivative nihilism mocks civilization.”
~ Armond White

Jim Jarmusch

“My motto’s always been: it’s hard to get lost if you don’t know where you’re going. The best plan is no plan. I’m the happiest and most productive when I’m generating ideas. It’s very regimented, but even within that I like freedom. I never storyboard a film. I don’t even write shot lists. I’ll have an idea of how we’ll shoot a scene in advance—but we don’t distribute it to the crew and say, ‘This is how many setups we’re going to be doing today.’ We don’t want that restriction. I like thinking on my feet. I’m not analytical. I’m intuitive. To protect that, I like things to not be too confined.”
~ Jim Jarmusch

 

Juvenile Cinephile On 2016

“Talked about on release, promptly torn apart, and seemingly disposed album of Lady Gaga’s transparent persona swap into country pop, ‘Joanne’ was an album that hit [personal] pleasure sensors. I appreciate belting, which Lady Gaga gives generously, I appreciate kitsch, I appreciate cheese, and I appreciate an artist just going there. Say what you will about Lady Gaga, but she has the gamesmanship and commitment of making a fool while still hitting whatever goal she sought, no matter how weird that goal was. This was the artist that gave us, ‘Venus,’ lest we forget. People’s problem with Lady Gaga is that her movements, turns, and persona swaps are again, so indicating, so transparent, and so seemingly inauthentic. Yet, in all of her work, somebody who is this music school-trained theater kid, postmodern artist hits either a point that is either transcendence or surrender against what we view as her approach, and embraces everything she could possibly be doing.”
~ Juvenile Cinephile On 2016

Jim Jarmusch

“Well, you know, when we’re shooting films we’re a little pirate ship. The world goes away when you’re making a film, because you’re working so much and you have so little time to sleep, and you don’t even know what’s going on anymore. And I always say at least once during a shoot: let’s remember we’re just making a fucking film here, you know? It’s entertainment.”
~ Jim Jarmusch

Jim Jarmusch

“Yeah. I’m a self-proclaimed dilettante, and it’s not negative to me, because I’m interested in so many things, from 17th-century English music, to mushroom identification, to various varieties of ferns, to all kinds of stuff. How can I, in one lifetime—I could be like Adam and Eve in Only Lovers, I wouldn’t be a dilettante, because they actually know. He knows how to build a generator, and she knows the Latin identification of everything. But I’m a dilettante because I don’t have enough time. And there are too many incredible things that I get attracted to, and so my head’s always spinning around. But that’s okay. Being a dilettante is helpful if you make films, because films have all these other forms in them. I’ve been finding more and more a lot of great directors I love were dilettantes or are. Like Nick Ray, prime example. Studied architecture with Frank Lloyd Wright, had Bertolt Brecht crash on his sofa, had a radio show of Appalachian music and rural blues in the ’30s, was a painter, read voraciously, knew all about baseball. I know Howard Hawks had an incredible variety of interests. And Buñuel. My thing is dilettantism, amateurism—I believe that I’m an amateur, because amateur means you do something for the love of a form, and professional means you do it for your job, you get paid, and nothing against that!—and variations. That’s my holy trinity lately of what my defining priorities are: being a dilettante, being an amateur, and appreciating variations in all expression. Because I love variations. To me, it’s the most beautiful form, to accept that all things are really variations on other things.”
~ Jim Jarmusch To Amy Taubin

Martin Scorsese

“Cinema is gone. The cinema I grew up with and that I’m making, it’s gone. The theater will always be there for that communal experience, there’s no doubt. But what kind of experience is it going to be? Is it always going to be a theme-park movie? I sound like an old man, which I am. The big screen for us in the ’50s, you go from Westerns to Lawrence of Arabia to the special experience of 2001 in 1968. The experience of seeing Vertigo and The Searchers in VistaVision. If the younger people have something to say and they find a way to say through visual means as well as literary, there’s the new cinema. I’m worried about double-think or triple-think, which is make you believe you have the freedom, but they can make it very difficult to get the picture shown, to get it made, ruin reputations. It’s happened before.”
~ Martin Scorsese

Howard Beale

“I don’t have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It’s a depression. Everybody’s out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel’s worth; banks are going bust; shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter; punks are running wild in the street, and there’s nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there’s no end to it. We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat. And we sit watching our TVs while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that’s the way it’s supposed to be! We all know things are bad — worse than bad — they’re crazy.

It’s like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don’t go out any more. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we’re living in is getting smaller, and all we say is, “Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials, and I won’t say anything. Just leave us alone.”

Well, I’m not going to leave you alone. I want you to get mad! I don’t want you to protest. I don’t want you to riot. I don’t want you to write to your Congressman, because I wouldn’t know what to tell you to write. I don’t know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street.

All I know is that first, you’ve got to get mad. You’ve gotta say, “I’m a human being, goddammit! My life has value!”

So, I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window, open it, and stick your head out and yell, “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”
~ Howard Beale, as recorded by Paddy Chayefsky

Journalist Jamie Kalven

“One of the dangers is that people will instead become demoralized and retreat into denial, that they will seek refuge amid the pleasures and fulfillments of private life. That would give carte blanche to power. There was a term used in central Europe to describe those who opted to retreat into private life under totalitarianism. They were called ‘internal emigres.’ That is certainly tempting at a time like this: to live one’s life in the wholly private realm, enjoying the company of friends, good food and drink, the pleasures of literature and music, and so on. Privileged sectors of our society are already heavily skewed that way. It’s a real danger at a time like this. If we withdraw from public engagement now, we aid and abet that which we deplore.”
~ Journalist Jamie Kalven

Bela Tarr

“I’m not a teacher. I believe there are no rules. Everyone has to find their own way. In the 21st century, you can make a movie with an iPhone or other devices. There are really no rules. You have to liberate students. That’s my role. To see that people are free and powerful. That they are brave enough. I want to remind them that life is hard. I want to show them that they can’t be provincial They shouldn’t just think about their homeland or their own monolithic culture. The world is so big. Our students come from Japan, Korea, Singapore, India, Argentina, Columbia, Mexico, the U.S., all corners of the world. When they are working together they learn from each other. We don’t have teachers. I just invite some interesting directors. In the last semester, I invited Pedro Costa and Carlos Reygadas. Victor Erice has visited us. I was working with them. If you are a young filmmaker and have the chance to work or meet with these people, it’s wonderful. For example, Carlos is from Mexico. He has a completely different vision from other filmmakers. We wanted to talk about human beings and respecting life. My role is to be a liberator and some of the students are doing very interesting stuff. Making films nowadays can be very cheap. In Sarajevo, we didn’t have very much money. Sometimes we were shooting with an iPhone. It was low budget/high energy. I like life, it brings me joy. When I’m shooting it also helps. You have to wait patiently until you see a take that works. Then it’s really done, it’s happened. Filmmaking is like hunting. You have to wait and wait until the situation really transmits life and it’s there. If you’re lucky you can get it into the can, take it to the lab, and watch it, and it’s okay.”
~ Bela Tarr

Steven Levy On Potential Pitfalls In Eradicating Online Lies

‘Fake news itself produces very little revenue for Facebook, but Facebook wielding a heavy hand when it comes to News Feed content is a real threat to both its popularity and, ultimately, its business. Facebook will have to thread a tight needle, though: it does not want to become the ultimate judge of legitimate news, and it doesn’t want to stifle sharing and opining among its users.”
~ Steven Levy On Potential Pitfalls In Eradicating Online Lies

George Lucas On Making Profitable Films, January 2016

“You are forced to make a particular kind of movie. I used to say this all the time when people — you know, back when Russia was the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. And they’d say, oh, but aren’t you so glad that you’re in America? I said, well, I know a lot of Russian filmmakers, and they have a lot more freedom than I have. All they have to do is be careful about criticizing the government.”
~ George Lucas On Making Profitable Films, January 2016

Alan Curtis

“The astonishing thing in my country after Brexit—and I think probably you’re seeing it now after the election of Trump—is that all the metropolitan hipsters looked around at each other and went, ‘Fuck, where did those people come from?’ They didn’t even know the Trump supporters and Brexit supporters existed, because they were so in their little bubble they just couldn’t see them. What then happened is that they started blaming those people, which I thought was pretty bad. You’d hear in bars, ‘God, the really stupid people are in control now.’ And I just wanted to say, ‘No, hang on, you’re stupid: you lost the election.’ Instead of trying to blame people for voting, they should go out and find out what is really going on, bring it forward, and try and show why people voted like that. And to do that you have to identify where real power is in our societies. And that’s what I was trying to do in HyperNormalisation.  The current system of power is fundamentally pretty invisible to us. It resides in finance, in all sorts of new kinds of management, and within computers and the media, which involves invisible algorithms that shape and manage what information we get. I think one of the most beautiful things artists and journalists can do at this moment in time is to be sympathetic and understanding to the people who voted for Brexit and Trump, and then bring to the fore the invisible power structures that those people feel completely distanced from so that they know where power is. And do it in such a way that isn’t obscure so people like me don’t have to read it three times just to understand it. Do it in a way that really grabs ordinary people’s imaginations.”
~ Filmmaker Adam Curtis

Film Critic Adam Nayman

“When I first wrote about Ben Wheatley in that piece on Kill List for Cinema Scope, I just remember finishing it and thinking that I can’t wait to see this guy’s next film and to write on it. The book in some ways was born there, just by thinking, ‘What an interesting career to keep tabs on.’ To your question about why write a book, timing has a lot to do with it. Let’s put it this way: there are no two films that I’ve had more anxiety to sit and watch than High-Rise and Free Fire. When I started writing it I hadn’t even seen High-Rise. When I finished I’d just barely seen Free Fire. Now there’s this rumor that Wheatley may be doing a Frank Miller adaptation for Warner Bros. But when the opportunity came about, I thought it was exciting to write about a young director whose career is still in formation. This is not to compare Wheatley to Godard or me to Richard Roud, but Roud wrote book-length texts on directors like Godard in the mid-60s. There’s something to be said about an early career overview, getting in on the ground floor. It’s a matter of deciding that the subject is worth it. If Wheatley’s body of work remains interesting and he becomes as major a figure as I suspect he could, it’s the satisfaction of becoming part of the received wisdom. Whereas the Showgirls book was the inverse of that, an attempt to overcome the received wisdom by taking a long, hard look in the rearview mirror at something.”
~ Film Critic Adam Nayman

Critic AA Gill

“Freedom of speech is what all other human rights and freedoms balance on. That may sound like unspeakable arrogance when applied to restaurant reviews or gossip columns. But that’s not the point. Journalism isn’t an individual sport like books and plays; it’s a team effort. The power of the press is cumulative. It has a conscious human momentum. You can – and probably do – pick up bits of it and sneer or sigh or fling them with great force at the dog. But together they make up the most precious thing we own.”

~ Critic AA Gill

Quote Unquotesee all »

“I was 15 when I first watched Sally Hardesty escape into the back of a pickup truck, covered in blood and cackling like a goddamn witch. All of her friends were dead. She had been kidnapped, tortured and even forced to feed her own blood to her cannibalistic captors’ impossibly shriveled patriarch. Being new to the horror genre, I was sure she was going to die. It had been a few months since I survived a violent sexual assault, where I subsequently ran from my assailant, tripped, fell and fought like hell. I crawled home with bloody knees, makeup-stained cheeks and a new void in both my mind and heart. My sense of safety, my ability to trust others, my willingness to form new relationships and my love of spending time with people I cared about were all taken from me. It wasn’t until I found the original The Texas Chain Saw Massacre that something clicked. It was Sally’s strength, and her resilience. It was watching her survive blows to the head from a hammer. It was watching her break free from her bonds and burst through a glass window. It was watching her get back up after she’d been stabbed. It was watching her crawl into the back of a truck, laughing as it drove away from Leatherface. She was the last one to confront the killer, and live. I remember sitting in front of the TV and thinking, There I am. That’s me.”
~ Lauren Milici On “The Final Girl”

“‘Thriller’ enforced its own reality principle; it was there, part of the every commute, a serenade to every errand, a referent to every purchase, a fact of every life. You didn’t have to like it, you only had to acknowledge it. By July 6, 1984, when the Jacksons played the first show of their ‘Victory’ tour, in Kansas City, Missouri, Jacksonism had produced a system of commodification so complete that whatever and whoever was admitted to it instantly became a new commodity. People were no longer comsuming commodities as such things are conventionally understood (records, videos, posters, books, magazines, key rings, earrings necklaces pins buttons wigs voice-altering devices Pepsis t-shirts underwear hats scarves gloves jackets – and why were there no jeans called Bille Jeans?); they were consuming their own gestures of consumption. That is, they were consuming not a Tayloristic Michael Jackson, or any licensed facsimile, but themselves. Riding a Mobius strip of pure capitalism, that was the transubstantiation.”
~ Greil Marcus On Michael Jackson