Quotes

Steven Soderbergh

“It’s hard to make a good food movie. I think that the problem is that film is not smell-based. You don’t smell the onions hitting the pan. You’re missing the one thing that makes your body react, that makes your mouth water.
”
~ Steven Soderbergh

Matt Klinman

“The whole story is basically that Facebook gets so much traffic that they started convincing publishers to post things on Facebook. For a long time, that was fine. People posted things on Facebook, then you would click those links and go to their websites. But then, gradually, Facebook started exerting more and more control of what was being seen, to the point that they, not our website, essentially became the main publishers of everyone’s content. Today, there’s no reason to go to a comedy website that has a video if that video is just right on Facebook. And that would be fine if Facebook compensated those companies for the ad revenue that was generated from those videos, but because Facebook does not pay publishers, there quickly became no money in making high-quality content for the internet.”
~ Matt Klinman

Andrey Zvyagintsev

‘I’ll change; I won’t repeat the mistakes that led me to this disillusionment; I will begin anew.’ These are the thoughts of people who blame others for their fiascos. In the end, the only thing you can really change is yourself. Only then will the world around you glow once more; perhaps only a terrible loss can allow this to happen. Our post-modern era is a post-industrial society inundated by a constant flow of information received by individuals with very little interest in other people, as anything else than a means to an end. These days, it’s every man for himself. The only way out of this indifference is to devote oneself to others, even perfect strangers – like the volunteer search coordinator who combs the town looking for the vanished child, with no promise of reward, as if it was his life’s true purpose. This basic task imbues his every action with meaning. It is the only means of fighting dehumanization and the world’s disarray.”
~ Andrey Zvyagintsev

“Every passion borders on the chaotic, but the collector’s passion borders on the chaos of memories.” ~ Walter Benjamin

Every passion borders on the chaotic, but the collector’s passion borders on the chaos of memories.”
~
Walter Benjamin

Harvey Weinstein

“HW engaged in quid pro quo sexual harassment… HW also required multiple groups of TWC employees to facilitate his sexual encounters with women. In part, HW required executive assistants to schedule and help arrange sexual (or possible sexual) encounters for HW, even directing them to essentially badger women who refused or expressed reluctance into accepting a “meeting” with HW. Additionally, on multiple occasions, HW required junior executives to meet a woman and discuss working in the entertainment industry generally or on specific TWC projects, because he was interested in her sexually and wanted the executives to help put the woman at ease before he made any sexual advances or because she had already submitted to his advances… TWC employed one group of female employees whose primary job it was to accompany HW to events and to facilitate HW’s sexual conquests. These women were kept on TWC’s payroll in TWC’s New York, Los Angeles, and London offices. While they had different titles, as a practical matter their primary responsibility included taking HW to parties at which he could meet young women, and introducing him to young women seeking opportunities at TWC with whom he could attempt to engage in sexual relations. These women were described by some witnesses as members of HW’s TWC “roster” or his “wing women.” One of the members of this entourage was flown from London to New York to teach HW’s assistants how to dress and smell more attractive to HW… A second group of employees served as his assistants. Predominantly female assistants were compelled to take various steps to further HW’s regular sexual activity, including by contacting “Friends of Harvey” (“FOH”) and other prospective sexual partners via text message or phone at his direction and maintaining space on his calendar for sexual activity. Two TWC employee witnesses described having to procure HW’s erectile dysfunction shots, one of whom received a TWC bonus for obtaining them and was at times directed by HW to administer the injections. Another TWC witness described how she had to ensure HW had an adequate supply of them in his travel bag—referred to within the company as his “go at bag” all times. One TWC employee was tasked with preparing a room in TWC’s offices for HW’s sexual activity when he wished to have sexual encounters in the office, and with cleaning up when it was over. Articles of women’s clothing were left behind on occasion after these incidents, making clear what transpired during these encounters and requiring TWC employees to make arrangements for their return.”
~ The Schneiderman Filing Against Harvey Weinstein Fire Sale Of Weinsteinco

Nassim Nicholas Taleb

“A private library is not an ego-boosting appendage but a research tool. Read books are far less valuable than unread ones. The library should contain as much of what you do not know as your financial means, mortgage rates, and the currently tight real-estate market allows you to put there. You will accumulate more knowledge and more books as you grow older, and the growing number of unread books on the shelves will look at you menacingly. Indeed, the more you know, the larger the rows of unread books. Let us call this collection of unread books an antilibrary.”
~ Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Howard Rodman

“So much that I treasure today – so many dear friends, so much hard-earned wisdom – has come out of he Sundance Labs family. I would move anything out of the way to make room for Sundance in my life, don’t tell her. Via Sundance I’ve spend the last almost two decades in the company of the independent filmmakers, emerging and established, who’ve not lost the ability to astonish or to inspire. In a time where so many are writing about heroes, they’re writing about people. Whenever the industrial filmmaking machine forgets its purpose, this army of brave and independent women and men is always there to remind us.”
~ Howard Rodman

Nick Pinkerton

“If The Myth of the Artistic Genius is due for a bit of debunking, we might also do well to remember that it’s a stumbling block that many business interests would also be very happy to be rid of, save for the few cases where temperament has proven consistently and enormously profitable. These interests have every inducement to failsafe intellectual properties from the tarnish of any one creator’s individual personal improprieties, when necessary separating the art from the artist and passing it along—a practice a bit like fitting a severed head on someone else’s body.”
~ Nick Pinkerton

Academy President John Bailey

“The fossilized bedrock of many of Hollywood’s worst abuses are being jackhammered into oblivion. Nowhere is this being made clearer than in the richness of many of this year’s nominated films. The Academy is at a crossroads of change… We are witnessing this motion picture academy reinvent itself in front of our very eyes, and a greater awareness and responsibility in balancing gender, race, ethnicity, and religion.”
~ Academy President John Bailey

Andy Rector

“Don’t try to sound wise or informed about Jerry, don’t try to shed light.  He rejects being understood, quite properly, and his impulses live in darkness.  At any rate, nobody really knows anybody in this life, we’re all surprises—a fact Jerry’s every twitch elucidated.  The countless commentators who worked through the decades to label Jerry, judge him, pass sentence, never sat with him at table, yet eagerly framed him in personal, not professional, terms.  We never met, but I always cherish a tiny moment caught and held by Martin Scorsese in The King of Comedy, where a man I take to be very like Jerry, named, of course, Jerry, pauses in the atrium of his New York apartment to watch Sam Fuller’s Pickup on South Street on his television: the penetrating regard, the poise, the suspension of breath, the meticulous air of analysis (which I take to have belonged to both the onscreen Jerry I watch there and the real Jerry playing him) give me a thrill, as though in working to scrutinize this TV watcher I am picking up some of the mojo that is already his, in watching the film on his screen.  Perhaps Jerry Langford isn’t Jerry Lewis in any way, and I’m not getting anywhere near Jerry Lewis by observing him, but I really don’t believe that.

It seems he was always in the glare of one light or another, arclight, klieg light, candlelight, sun. That for him being in the light came naturally (stepping out through the billboard mouth hole in Artists and Models) and therefore couldn’t have been a torture.  Yet can we ever be sure?  Think of Bertolt Brecht’s lines for Kurt Weill:

Some in light and some in darkness
That’s the kind of world we mean.
Those you see are in the daylight.
Those in darkness don’t get seen.

Since, watching Jerry, we sit in the darkness, can we really know what it is to suffer illumination—always unless one retreats, from every side, and with howling voices?  Jerry’s performative antics were hugely visual. It is interesting that Jerry, an unwavering source of brilliance, was somehow not a source of illumination.  Illumination was neither his method nor his path, although he was a blinding sun.  The confession speech at the end of The Nutty Professor, where he breaks up during “That Old Black Magic,” then stands on the stage and tells the story of his life:  it is pure sunshine, if also, simultaneously, degradation. ”
~ Andy Rector

Jonathan Rosenbaum

“What does being a film critic mean? It means in my case having a forum to write about things that matter a great deal to me, including film—though by no means restricted to that topic. I hope to reach other people who care passionately about the same things, and what I hope to commu­nicate above all is the passion and interest that we share. We don’t have to agree. “I like to think of myself as an airplane, not an airport,” Jean-Luc Godard once said to me in an interview, and I feel the same way. In other words, I’d be happy in some cases if readers use me to travel somewhere—somewhere specified by them and not by me—and then get off, rather than just regard me and what I have to say as the final destination. Dialogue adds up to more than monologue—at least if it includes multiple viewpoints rather than simple assent. It’s also true, of course, that in my criticism I’m often proselytizing on behalf of certain films and filmmakers, which means that I hope some things will be more widely seen. But that doesn’t mean that I always learn the most from the critics I agree with, or that I necessarily expect readers to take what I say without a discussion or an argument. As Manny Farber has suggested, evaluations often turn out to be the least important aspects of criticism, and I’m particularly fascinated by those moments in his own writing when you can’t even tell whether he’s ridiculing or celebrating something. By and large, I’m most in favor of whatever takes film out of the realm of business, since just about everything in our life and culture seems bent on placing it exclusively in those terms, which I generally find both limited and monotonous. I realize it’s important for business people to keep up with film as a business, but why anyone else should care how much money someone else makes is a total mystery to me. There’s so much else to think and write about, although sometimes it becomes necessary to discuss cer­tain aspects of business that get in the way of criticism.”
~ Jonathan Rosenbaum

~ Daniel Day-Lewis

“I was fascinated by London after the war. My parents told stories about living through the Blitz, and I felt like I ingested that. I am sentimental about that world. And my dad was very much like Reynolds Woodcock. If a poet is not self-absorbed, what else is he? Before making the film, I didn’t know I was going to stop acting. I do know that Paul and I laughed a lot before we made the movie. And then we stopped laughing because we were both overwhelmed by a sense of sadness. That took us by surprise: We didn’t realize what we had given birth to. It was hard to live with. And still is.”
~ Daniel Day-Lewis

Vadim Rizov

“Let’s talk about capital a bit more. Festival bumpers are nobody’s favorite kind of short film (content) — I’ve literally never heard anyone say how much they loved seeing that opening scroll of sponsors and vague images. Still, this year’s edition seemed to be driving everyone particularly off the walls. A series of words were slathered over stills in a font and colors that basically rip off the cover of ‘The Life of Pablo'; once the word salad is over, the music drops out and is recapitulated for the sponsor crawl. At one of my screenings, someone took their iPhone out and recorded this segment, presumably so they could hear this wonderful tune whenever they wanted for the rest of their life, and the running time for that back half alone turned out to be 39 seconds. One bright person at a party had a good idea of how to respond to this: every time a new word pops up, lean over to whoever’s sitting next to you and whisper “story.” This piece of content was credited as being animated by one studio + one person, but had three brand consultants listed; how do I get that full-time gig? It seems like a dream. Let’s not even get to into the “volunteer appreciation” bumper, lest I induce myself into an apoplectic rage. OK, fine: NB that it’s a bunch of quotes about The Power of Storytelling, sourced from, inter alia, Plato, Margaret Atwood and Robert Redford (all on the same plane!), who I’m sure wrote his own statement, just like I’m sure sponsor Kenneth Cole was one of the three (!) credited co-writers for a segment that takes all of a minute. If all of this seems like a specialized form of whining — well, it is, because it’s definitely a privilege and perk to be able to attend this festival as paid work. Nonetheless, I think it’s important to keep in mind how money works and shapes everything around us, especially in a realm where the question of where financing is coming from and what it takes to get it is especially pertinent. I’m unwilling to make a synoptic diagnosis about what kind of festival this shaped up to be or how it bodes for 2018 In Film; my one note here is that scanning the credits for every film almost always answers the question, ‘Why is this film screening here?’ There’s always a name tied to a known network of creators, which both makes sense and limits the chance for gatecrashers and new talent from the outside.”
~ Vadim Rizov

Jane Birkin

“I think how wonderfully Serge got me over all my hang-ups about looking the way a girl should really,” Birkin says. “To have a man who said — after Brigitte Bardot, what’s more — ‘I love girls with no bosoms. It’s what I drew when I was at art school.’ ” And she helped him make the most of what he had as well. “I was the one who thought he looked better with the seven-o’clock shadow, because he used to have a very childish face,” she says. “He used to have those terrible inhibitions about it because he had to wait so long before shaving.” She preferred him without socks and underwear and bought him women’s jewelry “because he didn’t look like a hairy man.” Rather, he had “a gorgeous girl’s arm and not a hair on his chest, so he could have a piece of jewelry round his neck. He looked very refined.”
~ Jane Birkin

“Desire is a thing that you can’t even localize – you don’t know where it begins and where it ends… I was fascinated by all this nonsense that goes on in our heads when we desire someone and we don’t know how to say so.”

“Desire is a thing that you can’t even localize – you don’t know where it begins and where it ends… I was fascinated by all this nonsense that goes on in our heads when we desire someone and we don’t know how to say so.”
~ Andre Aciman on Call Me By Your Name

Harold Bloom

BLOOM
There cannot be a human being who has fewer thoughts on the whole question of word processing than I do. I’ve never even seen a word processor. I am hopelessly archaic. For me the typewriter hasn’t even been invented yet, so how can I speak to this matter? I protest! A man who has never learned to type is not going to be able to add anything to this debate. As far as I’m concerned, computers have as much to do with literature as space travel, perhaps much less. I can only write with a ballpoint pen, with a Rolling Writer, they’re called, a black Rolling Writer on a lined yellow legal pad on a certain kind of clipboard. And then someone else types it.

INTERVIEWER
And someone else edits?

BLOOM
No one edits. I edit. I refuse to be edited.

INTERVIEWER
Do you revise much?

BLOOM
Sometimes, but not often.
~ Harold Bloom

Ellen Pompeo

“So, what does it look like when he leaves the show? First, it looks like a ratings spike, and I had a nice chuckle about that. But the truth is, the ink wasn’t even dry on his exit papers before they rushed in a new guy. I was on vacation in Sicily, decompressing — it was a long working relationship and it was a tumultuous end and I needed a moment to just chill with some rosé — and they’re calling me, going, ‘What do you think of this guy?’ ‘What do you think of this guy?’ And they’re sending pictures. I was like, ‘Are you people fucking nuts? Why do you feel that you have to replace this person?’ I couldn’t believe how fast the studio and the network felt like they had to get a penis in there.”
Ellen Pompeo

Quote Unquotesee all »

“Film festivals, for those who don’t know, are not exactly the glitzy red carpet affairs you see on TV. Those do happen, but they’re a tiny part of the festival. The main part of any film festival are the thousands of people with festival passes hanging on lanyards beneath their anoraks, carrying brochures for movies you have never and will never hear of, desperately scrabbling to sell whatever movie it is to buyers from all over the world. Every hotel bar, every cafe, every restaurant is filled to the brim with these people, talking loudly about non-existent deals. The Brits are the worst because most of the British film industry, with a few honourable exceptions, are scam artists and chancers who move around from company to company failing to get anything good made and trying to cast Danny Dyer in anything that moves. I’m seeing guys here who I first met twenty years ago and who are still wearing the same clothes, doing the same job (albeit for a different company) and spinning the same line of bullshit about how THIS movie has Al Pacino or Meryl Streep or George Clooney attached and, whilst that last one didn’t work out, THIS ONE is going to be HUGE. As the day goes on, they start drinking and it all gets ugly and, well, that’s why I’m the guy walking through the Tiergarten with a camera taking pictures of frozen lakes and pretending this isn’t happening.

“Berlin is cool, though and I’ve been lucky to be doing meetings with some people who want to actually get things done. We’ll see what comes of it.”
~ Julian Simpson 

“The difference between poetry and prose, and why if you’re not acculturated to poetry, you might resist it: that page is frightening. Why is it not filled? The two categories of people who don’t feel that way are children and prisoners. So many prison poets; they see that gap and experience it differently. I’m for the gap!”
~ Poet Eileen Myles