Quotes

Lena Dunham Has More Thoughts

“The day that Harvey Weinstein was revealed to be a sexual predator I cheered. I clapped. I wrote an op-ed. So many of us have spent such a long time hiding our trauma. At least I know I had — even as a chronic oversharer, I tended to leave huge swaths of experience out of my story — and I walked around feeling like such a victim. Like so many women (so many people), I disguised my pain with medication and stuff and chronic overwork, with social media and mindless dating and the random day-to-day drama we generate to stay out of our own experience. I never stopped, much less stopped to consider that I might be capable of traumatizing somebody, too (the exact complaint I’ve always had about old white man artists). And so I made a terrible mistake. When someone I knew, someone I had loved as a brother, was accused, I did something inexcusable: I publicly spoke up in his defense. There are few acts I could ever regret more in this life… It’s painful to realize that, while I thought I was self-aware, I had actually internalized the dominant male agenda that asks us to defend it no matter what, protect it no matter what, baby it no matter what.”
Lena Dunham

Paul Schrader

“There are people who talk about the American cinema of the seventies as some halcyon period. It was to a degree but not because there were any more talented filmmakers. There’s probably, in fact, more talented filmmakers today than there was in the seventies. What there was in the seventies was better audiences.And a lot of what was happening in the world had people in consternation: Women’s rights, gay rights, sexual liberation, drug liberation, anti-war. All of these things were rolling on top of each other and people were turning to the arts, specifically movies, for what should we feel about this? Bob and Alice about wife swapping, and coming home about Vietnam veterans, unmarried women about female liberation. So almost one a week, films were coming out to address these things that were on people’s minds. When people take movies seriously it’s very easy to make a serious movie. When they don’t take it seriously, it’s very, very hard. We now have audiences that don’t take movies seriously so it’s hard to make a serious movie for them.

It’s not that us filmmakers are letting you down, it’s you audiences are letting us down. Because if audiences are receptive to a quality movie, believe me, they will get it. We’re all just waiting to make it. At that time, that period about ten, twelve years, every single week there was some kind of film coming out addressing a social issue in a fictional form.

Clearly with First Reformed you tokk on the subject and problems around climate change as one of the themes that underpin the story. I wonder how you feel your audiences have responded to that aspect of the story?

I lost you after climate change. That’s a big question because there is no response. There is no response. As a species we have made our decision, it’s pretty clear. Now it’s a question of how long it takes for that decision to be fully effective. But you know, there is no—whatever tipping point there was, we’ve passed it and it is—you know, it’s very hard to—a friend of mine wrote an article for the New York Times calling on raising a child in a doomed world. And my adult children do not have children and they don’t feel they should, and that is a question that begins First Reformed: Should I bring someone in to this world knowing what kind of life they will have? So it would be nice to say the movie has a positive effect, but our gorilla brains are not going to get us out of the problem. Evolution has taken us as far as it can. The next stage will be some other form of evolved intelligence, but us gorillas, we’re not equipped to solve this problem.”
~ Paul Schrader’s BAFTA Screenwriter Lecture, Linked Here In Full

 

“Okay, let’s hit pause here. We kind of have to. Why in the world is one ill-advised online joke about a movie made in 1972 endangering the career of one of the last big-name film critics? First of all: I know David Edelstein and we’ve always had a cordial relationship, although we’re not close friends. We’ve been in innumerable screening rooms together, and participated in the secretive (but highly non-thrilling) awards vote at the NYFCC. I’m not going to serve as a character witness, nor deliver some kind of “Brutus is an honorable man” speech. But I’ll say this: I believe David meant his unfunny butter joke to be puckish and harmless, and sincerely did not understand why many people would find it offensive. Furthermore, he clearly believed his personal Facebook page was a semi-private space. He was clearly wrong about that.I’m afraid I come down here on the highly conventional opinion that social media makes everything worse Edelstein posted a tiny but noxious brain-fart he never should have allowed to escape from his skull, then someone among his Facebook friends grabbed his post and flung it to the wolves, and NPR — fearing a “Me Too”-flavored uprising — had an exaggerated reaction. As a special added grace note, Edelstein’s social media defenders, who are mostly but not entirely internet film dudes in the 50-and-up set, have made things significantly worse with a lot of outraged breast-beating about Stalinist thuggery and the feminist thought police.”
~ Andrew O’Hehir

Criterion on Filmstruck

“It is a sad day. FilmStruck is shutting down at midnight tonight. It feels as if we were just hitting our stride, and it’s heartbreaking that the passion project of Turner Classic Movies and the Criterion Collection has to come to an end. FilmStruck has left its mark on us at Criterion. The lights may go out at midnight, but we will still be carrying the torch. We’ve been given a second chance, an opportunity, with TCM’s blessing, to rebuild an independent service, owned and run by Criterion, with a mission to pick up where FilmStruck left off. Set to launch in the U.S. and Canada in spring 2019, the new service will not only include our own streaming library but will also feature a full spectrum of Hollywood classics and carefully selected films from independent distributors around the world. We’ll be applying the lessons we learned at FilmStruck, and the mission will be the same: to create a dedicated movie lover’s dream streaming service, with diverse thematic programming, supplemental features, guest programmers, hosted introductions, and more.”

~ Criterion Newsletter

Paul Schrader

“Religious political correctness. Airline policy dictated that all ‘Jesus’ references be removed from the version of First Reformed shown on flights. I asked A24 to request an exception on the grounds that First Reformed used the word Jesus as a noun not an expletive. And they agreed.”
~ Paul Schrader

Scorsese on Bertolucci

“In 1964, I went up to Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center for the second New York Film Festival to see a new film from Italy. It was called Before the Revolution and it was by a young director named Bernardo Bertolucci. I came out of the theater in a daze, speechless. I was truly stunned and moved by the level of sheer artistry and talent up there on the screen, I was shocked by the freedom of the picture, I was somewhat mystified by so many of the cultural references and cross-references, and, as someone who wanted to make films, I was inspired. Before the Revolution opened many doors for me, and for many other young filmmakers as well. And Bertolucci kept on opening doors – with The Conformist, which had a profound influence on Hollywood moviemaking; with Last Tango In Paris, an explosive cultural event; with The Last Emperor and The Sheltering Sky, which reinvented the historical epic. When I think of Bertolucci – the man, the artist – the word that comes to mind is refinement. Yes, he was flamboyant and provocative, but it was the mellifluousness and the grace with which he expressed himself, and his deep understanding of his own history and culture, that made his filmmaking and his presence so special, so magical. Bernardo was in a wheelchair for the last years of his life, and it was extremely difficult for him to get around. It saddened all of us who knew him, because he had so much more that he wanted to do, and probably so many more films to make. When I think of him, I will always see an eternally young man.”
~ Martin Scorsese

Bertolucci 2014

Last Tango, When I started, I didn’t know where I could go with Marlon Brando and Maria. Because there is something that you can’t tell in the screenplays—and it’s exactly what’s missing from screenplays—which is the flesh and blood of the real people in front of the camera. The script describes the characters, but when you go to shoot, you try to invent life in front of the camera. I don’t know… My wife says that I could make a cup of tea look sexy. When I did that film, nobody could have stopped me. In Italy it had been banned—it couldn’t be shown for I think 10 years after the opening, and I was condemned for two months in prison with suspension. Just a few months ago I was at the Cinémathèque Française for a retrospective and someone asked about shooting that scene in Last Tango. It was Marlon’s idea to use the butter. She knew there was a sex scene, but she didn’t know about the particulars. She was offended that I didn’t tell her, because I wanted her to react like a girl would react to that surprise. And that became a kind of scandal: “You make actors copulate in front of the camera, shame on you.” People thought they were really fucking! This is not the only film that I’ve done, but it’s the one that goes on and on and on.”
~ Bernardo Bertolucci 2014

Ryan Gilbey

Private Life unmistakably is cinema. Every detail of the compositions, the mise-en-scène, the placement of the actors, the amount of empty space in the frame – it’s all geared toward the larger medium and, unless you’re watching it on a mega-sized TV, you aren’t getting the full benefit or feeling the impact as the director intended. But you don’t go want to go to the cinema because, well, it’s expensive and everyone talks through the movie or plays on their phones, and despite the ad asking patrons to “Please Switch Off Your Mobile Devices”, no one ever does, and the management doesn’t care one way or the other. So you stay at home.”
Ryan Gilbey

~ Joel Coen on The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs at NYFF press conference

“That’s an artifact of just what a strange animal it was. They didn’t know, none of us really knew what to call it, or how to classify it. But aside from the confusion about the classification, the actual what we were going to shoot — the length of each of the stories, all of which vary — there was never anything that we were considering doing any differently. There were never any more stories and they were always intended to be seen as a group.”
~ Joel Coen on The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs at NYFF press conference

Lucrecia Martel

“I find it hard to believe that it’s pure machismo. It’s too simple of a thought. I don’t know what the reason could be. I also think that it makes sense that, as time goes by, filmmaking should become more of a women-dominated activity. To me, of course, I feel like it’s going to happen. It seems to me that, especially for a certain cinema with its own language, you need to take a lot of risks. And women receive a type of education that allows much more for failure than the type men receive. It is easier for a woman to take risks than for a man. But I’ll also tell you another thing, women need to learn to master the tools, to solve technical problems, to control unscripted situations. There is also a totally macho attitude that many women have internalized in terms of not solving certain technical problems on their own. That also makes them a little less capable… Female DoPs often think that their technical area is limited to pen and paper. And that’s wrong. You need to learn a lot of things to be a good DoP. For me, machismo breeds both a masculine education and a nefarious feminine education. Macho culture engenders an education for men and another for women. The education for men we already know, and is easily criticized. And the nefarious education that machismo has for women is exemplified by women who ultimately ignore how to use tools, who—when something breaks, or when it gets dark—are rendered useless and get desperate. Women who do not even know how to build a fire. They don’t know how to deal with these situations, because these were activities that have traditionally been delegated to men. That can make us… not very… prone to achieve certain things. For me, we first have to fight against our own education, and also against an external model of erasure that has rendered women less capable than men in certain fields.”
Lucrecia Martel

Fran Lebowitz

“When my first book came out in 1978, and Carter was president, the top tax bracket in the US started, at that time, at one hundred thousand dollars a year; the federal income tax was 70 percent. Now, that may be excessive—I mean, it certainly was excessive—but the people who are rich now are psychotically rich. It’s stupid amounts of money that people have, and they pay no taxes! And they are allowed to make money in ways that you were not allowed to make money before. So there used to be all kinds of laws in this country. All kinds of regulations: usury laws, laws that regulated the amount of interest you were allowed to charge, bank regulations—all this kind of stuff. These were laws made by humans. They could be made again by humans. There is no reason why people should be allowed to make billions of dollars. It’s a stupid amount of money. It’s just simply stupid. And no one earns a billion dollars. You earn twelve dollars an hour. These are stupid amounts of money. No one should have them.”
~ Fran Leibowitz

 

Gillian Flynn

“I wanted that feeling that you could live in a city your entire life and never meet anyone who wasn’t like you.”
Gillian Flynn

Steve McQueen

“We’re all going to die so it makes it very easy. I haven’t always thought that way but I’ve realized it’s the truth. I think age gets you there, questioning your mortality… When you realize that, it’s so liberating, it’s so free, you can fly! There’s no need to hold on to anything. Like, think of the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you; it’s probably happened to 500 million people as well. Who gives a shit!”
~ Steve McQueen

Stan Lee

“Let’s lay it right on the line. Bigotry and racism are among the deadliest social ills plaguing the world today. But, unlike a team of costumed super-villains, they can’t be halted with a punch in the snoot, or a zap from a ray gun. The only way to destroy them is to expose them—to reveal them for the insidious evils they really are. The bigot is an unreasoning hater—one who hates blindly, fanatically, indiscriminately. If his hang-up is black men, he hates ALL black men. If a redhead once offended him, he hates ALL redheads. If some foreigner beat him to a job, he’s down on ALL foreigners. He hates people he’s never seen—people he’s never known—with equal intensity—with equal venom. Now, we’re not trying to say it’s unreasonable for one human being to bug another. But, although anyone has the right to dislike another individual, it’s totally irrational, patently insane to condemn an entire race—to despise an entire nation—to vilify an entire religion. Sooner or later, we must learn to judge each other on our own merits. Sooner or later, if man is ever to be worthy of his destiny, we must fill out hearts with tolerance. For then, and only then, will we be truly worthy of the concept that man was created in the image of God–a God who calls us ALL—His children.”
~ Stan Lee, 1965

Michael Almereyda

“I’m more and more interested in Godard’s idea that not much matters except dealing with the present moment, that when you look at history, you’ve got to refract it through your awareness of the present. I mean, I’m interested in history, and here I am talking about biopics, but I don’t want to run from the present. And the idea of time-travel through CGI feels like a magic trick that might be an evasion of other issues. Besides, I like working with real actors in real spaces. Can’t help it.”
~ Michael Almereyda

Paul Schrader

“Ten years ago at Telluride, I said on a panel that theatrical distribution was dying. It seemed obvious to me. I was surprised how many in the audience violently objected: ‘People will always want to go to the movies!’ That’s true, but it’s also true that theatrical cinema as we once knew it has died. Theatrical cinema is now Event Cinema, just as theatrical plays and musical performances are Events. No one just goes to a movie. It’s a planned occasion. Four types of Event Cinema remain.
1. Spectacle (IMAX-style blockbusters)
2. Family (cartoon like features)
3. Horror (teen-driven), and
4. Film Club (formerly arthouse but now anything serious).

There are isolated pockets like black cinema, romcom, girl’s-night-out, seniors, teen gross-outs, but it’s primarily those four. Everything else is TV. Now I have to go back to episode five of ‘Looming Tower.'”
~ Paul Schrader

Eric Allen Hatch

“Because of my relative candor on Twitter regarding why I quit my day job, my DMs have overflowed with similar stories from colleagues around the globe. These peeks behind the curtains of film festivals, venues, distributors and funding bodies weren’t pretty. Certain dismal patterns recurred (and resonated): Boards who don’t engage with or even understand their organization’s artistic mission and are insensitive to the diverse neighborhood in which their organization’s venue is located; incompetent founders and/or presidents who create only obstacles, never solutions; unduly empowered, Trumpian bean counters who chip away at the taste and experiences that make organizations’ cultural offerings special; expensive PR teams that don’t bring to the table a bare-minimum familiarity with the rich subcultural art form they’re half-heartedly peddling as “product”; nonprofit arts organizations for whom art now ranks as a distant-second goal behind profit.”
~ Eric Allen Hatch

Quote Unquotesee all »

“Yes, yes, yes. Now I am also the producer on Jean-Luc’s films, so I need to raise the money. Yes, there are two projects in preparation with the pretext of virtual reality. We are beginning with two approaches: we can either do or undo VR. Maybe we will undo it more than we do VR, because thinking about VR leads to the opposite of VR. Is there concrete imagination in virtual reality? For me, cinema is concrete imagination because it’s made with the real and uses it. VR, virtual reality, is totally the opposite of that, but it might be interesting to use this and then to destroy it. No, we’ll see, we’ll see. First, it’s just an idea of a beginning. There is a forest to cross, and we are just at the beginning of the forest. The first step is development. As they say in business, first there is development and research. We have to develop somehow an idea for the film; I won’t say a script, but to see what we can do with this system, and what we can undo with this system.”
~ Fabrice Aragno On Godard’s Next Projects

“Why put it in a box? This is the number one problem I have—by the way it’s a fair question, I’m not saying that—with this kind of festival situation is that there’s always this temptation to classify the movie immediately and if you look at it—and I’ve tried to warn my fellow jurors of this—directors and movie critics are the worst people to judge movies! Directors are always thinking, “I could do that.” Critics are always saying, “This part of the movie is like the 1947 version and this part…” And it’s like, “Fuck! Just watch the movie and try and absorb it and not compare it to some other fucking movie and put it in a box!” So I think the answer’s both and maybe neither, I don’t know. That’s for you to see and criticize me for or not.”
~ James Gray