Quotes

“I remember very much the iconography and the images and the statues in church were very emotional for me. Just the power of that, and even still — just seeing prayer card, what that image can evoke. I have a lot of friends that are involved in the esoteric, and I know some girls in New York that are also into the supernatural. I don’t feel that I have that gift. But I am leaning towards mysticism… Maybe men are more practical, maybe they don’t give into that as much… And then also, they don’t convene in the same way that women do. But I don’t know, I am not a man, I don’t want to speak for men. For me, I tend to gravitate towards people who are open to those kinds of things. And the idea for my film, White Echo, I guess stemmed from that — I find that the girls in New York are more credible. What is it about the way that they communicate their ideas with the supernatural that I find more credible? And that is where it began. All the characters are also based on friends of mine. I worked with Refinery29 on that film, and found that they really invest in you which is so rare in this industry.”
Chloë Sevigny

Cinestate

“The word I have fallen in love with lately is ‘Hellenic.’ Greek in its mythology. So while everyone is skewing towards the YouTube generation, here we are making two-and-a-half-hour movies and trying to buck the system. It’s become clear to me that we are never going to be a perfect fit with Hollywood; we will always be the renegade Texans running around trying to stir the pot. Really it’s not provocation for the sake of being provocative, but trying to make something that people fall in love with and has staying power. I think people are going to remember Dragged Across Concrete and these other movies decades from now. I do not believe that they will remember some of the stuff that big Hollywood has put out in the last couple of years. You’ve got to look at the independent space to find the movies that have been really special recently. Even though I don’t share the same world-view as some of my colleagues, I certainly respect the hell out of their movies which are way more fascinating than the stuff coming out of the studio system.”
~ Dallas Sonnier

Elliot Gould

“My first objective relationship in life was with the camera. I didn’t understand anything but then I realized the camera is my friend. It doesn’t lie to me. It doesn’t manipulate me. It only reports what I’m doing. And therefore, for me to work with a camera and the camera to be directed by an artist, a craftsman, someone who knows what he or she wants, I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
~ Elliot Gould

Ari Aster

I’ve talked about this with filmmakers a lot. There’s some kind of tragedy in filmmaking where you’ll never get to see your movie, really. You’ll never get to see the thing that you wanted to make. If you’re lucky, then maybe everybody else will. But you’ll never get to have the experience of walking into a theater and watching your movie with a clean slate like that.
Well, the other tragedy is that nobody will see the movie that you had in your head. And so for me — I’ve been saying this a lot recently — but making films for me is just like this horribly prolonged grieving process of having to make compromises. Sometimes they’re small, sometimes they’re huge. In shooting, you’re racing. Like, if you get stuck on one shot, then you’re compromising all the other shots you could do that day. So you can get it as close to perfect as you can. And then some shots you have to move on and you didn’t get it the way you wanted. And that’s a tiny tragedy, and then you carry that weight to the next one.

And so, all of a sudden, instead of being excited about the next shot, you feel doomed.

~ Ari Aster

Richard Brody

“The fear of cultural loss and the urge for restoration have unleashed huge conceptual swings on the part of other filmmakers of different talents and interests. In Michel Gondry’s Be Kind Rewind, from 2008, the concept of  ‘sweded’ movies—homemade versions of Hollywood films made by two video-store employees to replace an archive of erased tapes—is grander, giddier, and more enduring than any of the film’s dramatic specifics. The idea also inspired the greatest movie ever made, Jean-Luc Godard’s King Lear, a fantasy from 1987 in which the world’s great art has been lost as a result of Chernobyl. In an era when physical media are being supplanted by streaming, the prevalence of rock docs and anniversary celebrations evokes the sense of impending disaster and the shoring up of fragments against ruins. Yesterday is also a story of the failures of the system—a literal failure of the global grid that results in a colossal blank of cultural memory. Beneath its comedy, Yesterday is a horror film about a real-time disaster in the making.”

David Lynch

There were some colourful fan theories about Twin Peaks: The Return. Were you entertained by any of them?
I don’t know which ones you’re talking about, I don’t know anything.

One theory proposed that if you play the last two episodes in tandem, hidden meanings are revealed.
Bullshit.

~ David Lynch

Emily Nussbaum on TV and Trump

“Donald Trump is my worst nightmare. He watches completely different television than I do. [laughs] I don’t think he’s ever watched a scripted show. James Poniewozik, who’s the wonderful television critic for the Times, is coming out with a great book called ‘Audience of One,’ that is specifically about Donald Trump’s relationship with TV. I very much agree with the central premise of it, which is that Donald Trump himself kind of represents the medium of television. He’s basically the worst version of television. It’s not just the shows he watches, or the fact that he became a TV star because Mark Burnett specifically built Trump’s brand on ‘The Apprentice,’ convincing people that anything else was just a performance and that he was a successful businessman. It’s also that all of Trump’s values are the old-school values of TV in its first few decades, and the reason people found it repellent. Which is to say, he believes that only ratings and money count, and that everything is about numbers, math, and being liked. I originally found this confusing and baffling about him, and then, to my horror, I was like, No. Of course he’s right. This was the essential problem of TV for years, there was no distinction between popularity and the value of something. I wrote about ‘The Apprentice,’ and then Patrick Radden Keefe wrote this amazing piece for The New Yorker about Mark Burnett. You know, what can I say? Trump was elected, in my mind, because of basically two things—Mark Burnett and Ivanka Trump. I feel like those are the two factors that made his brand acceptable enough for people to vote for him. I went to a panel at the Museum of Television and Radio for ‘The Apprentice,’ and it’s fascinating, because Burnett was totally polished and literally articulated Trump’s appeal, his brand. He said, ‘He’s going to make America great again.’ Meanwhile, Donald Trump on that panel was just Donald Trump. He was whining, kvetching about minor disputes and annoyances he has, and how much he just wants to win Emmys. It’s crazy.”
~ New Yorker TV Critic Emily Nussbaum

Jeffrey Katzenberg

“What Quibi trying to do is get to the next generation of film narrative. The first generation was movies, and they were principally two-hour stories that were designed to be watched in a single sitting in a movie theater [ED: After formats like the nickelodeon]. The next generation of film narrative was television, principally designed to be watched in one-hour chapters in front of a television set. I believe the third generation of film narrative will be a merging of those two ideas, which is to tell two-hour stories in chapters that are seven to ten minutes in length. We are actually doing long-form in bite-size.”
~ Jeffrey Katzenberg

Christoph Waltz

“The important thing is: what makes the audience interested in it? Of course, I don’t take on any roles that don’t interest me, or where I can’t find anything for myself in it. But I don’t like talking about that. If you go into a restaurant and you have been served an exquisite meal, you don’t need to know how the chef felt, or when he chose the vegetables on the market. I always feel a little like I would pull the rug out from under myself if I were to I speak about the background of my work. My explanations would come into conflict with the reason a movie is made in the first place — for the experience of the audience — and that, I would not want.
~  Christoph Waltz

Matt Zoller Seitz

This is probably going to sound petty, but Martin Scorsese insisting that critics see his film in theaters even though it’s going straight to Netflix and then not screening it in most American cities was a watershed moment for me in this theatrical versus streaming debate.

I completely respect when a filmmaker insists that their movie is meant to be seen in the theater, but the thing is, you got to actually make it possible to see it in the theater. Some movies may be too small for that, and that’s totally OK.

When your movie is largely financed by a streaming service and is going to appear on that streaming service instantly, I don’t really see the point of pretending that it’s a theatrical film. It just seems like we are needlessly indulging some kind of personal fantasy.

I don’t think that making a feature film length production that is going to go straight to a video platform is some sort of “step down.“ I really don’t. Theatrical exhibition as we know it is dying off anyway, for a variety of reasons.

I should clarify myself because this thread is already being misconstrued — I’m talking about how the movie is screened in advance. If it’s going straight to Netflix, why the ritual of demanding people see it in the theater?

There used to be a category that everyone recognized called “TV movie” or “made for television movie” and even though a lot of filmmakers considered that déclassé, it seems to me that probably 90% of feature films fit that description now.

Atlantis has mostly sunk into the ocean, only a few tower spires remain above the waterline, and I’m increasingly at peace with that, because it seems to be what the industry and much of the audience wants. We live in an age of convenience and information control.

Only a very elite group of filmmakers is still allowed to make movies “for theaters“ and actually have them seen and judged that way on a wide scale. Even platform releasing seems to be somewhat endangered. It can’t be fought. It has to be accepted.

9. Addendum: I’ve been informed that it wasn’t Scorsese who requested that the Bob Dylan documentary only be screened for critics in theaters, but a Netflix representative indicated the opposite to me, so I just don’t know what to believe.

It’s actually OK if your film is not eligible for an Oscar — we have a thing called the Emmys. A lot of this anxiety is just a holdover from the days when television was considered culturally inferior to theatrical feature films. Everybody needs to just get over it.

In another 10 to 20 years they’re probably going to merge the Emmys in the Oscars into one program anyway, maybe they’ll call it the Contentys.

Robbie Collin on QT

“One of the fun things about seeing the new Quentin Tarantino film three months early in Cannes (did I mention this?) is that I know exactly why it’s going to make some people furious, and thus I have time to steel myself for the takes.

Back in July 2017, when it was revealed that Tarantino’s next project was connected to the Manson Family murders, it was condemned in some quarters as an insulting and exploitative stunt. We usually require at least a fig-leaf of compassion for the victims in true-crime adaptations, and even Tarantino partisans like myself – I don’t think he’s made a bad film yet – found ourselves wondering how he might square his more outré stylistic impulses with the depiction of a real mass murder in which five people and one unborn child lost their lives.

After all, it’s one thing to slice off with gusto a fictional policeman’s ear; it’s quite another to linger over the gory details of a massacre that took place within living memory, and which still carries a dread historical significance.

In her essay The White Album, Joan Didion wrote: “Many people I know in Los Angeles believe that the Sixties ended abruptly on August 9, 1969, ended at the exact moment when word of the murders on Cielo Drive traveled like brushfire through the community, and in a sense this is true.”

Early in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, as Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt’s characters drive up the hill towards Leo’s bachelor pad, the camera cranes up gently to reveal a street sign: Cielo Drive. Tarantino understands how charged that name is; he can hear the Molotov cocktails clinking as he shoulders the crate.

As you may have read in the reviews from Cannes, much of the film is taken up with following DiCaprio and Pitt’s characters – a fading TV actor and his long-serving stunt double – as they amusingly go about their lives in Los Angeles, while Margot Robbie’s Sharon Tate is a relatively minor presence. But the spectre of the murders is just over the horizon, and when the night of the 9th finally arrives, you feel the mood in the cinema shift.

No spoilers whatsoever about what transpires on screen. But in the audience, as it became clear how Tarantino was going to handle this extraordinarily loaded moment, the room soured and split, like a pan of cream left too long on the hob. I craned in, amazed, but felt the person beside me recoil in either dismay or disgust.

Two weeks on, I’m convinced that the scene is the boldest and most graphically violent of Tarantino’s career – I had to shield my eyes at one point, found myself involuntarily groaning “oh no” at another – and a dead cert for the most controversial. People will be outraged by it, and with good reason. But in a strange and brilliant way, it takes Didion’s death-of-the-Sixties observation and pushes it through a hellfire-hot catharsis.

Hollywood summoned up this horror, the film seems to be saying, and now it’s Hollywood’s turn to exorcise it. I can’t wait until the release in August, when we can finally talk about why.

~ Robbie Collin

James Ellroy

“Raymond Chandler is the most overrated writer in the American canon. Raymond Chandler sucks chihuahua dicks. Hammett wrote the kind of man that he was afraid that he was. Chandler wrote the kind of guy that he wished he were.”
~ James Ellroy

James Ellroy

“Nothing I write contains any hidden message about America today. This is the first and last time I will give my opinion on Trump. What gets to me is how everyone in the world has to talk about this dipshit. I have never seen more volcanic, pathetic self-pity in a man. Trump revels in his own grotesque. I know something about men. Real men do not wallow in self-pity.”
~ James Ellroy

Keanu Reeves

“With any character, the way I think about it is, you have the role on the page, you have the vision of the director and you have your life experience… I thought it was one of the foundations of the role for John Wick. I love his grief. For the character and in life, it’s about the love of the person you’re grieving for, and any time you can keep company with that fire, it is warm. I absolutely relate to that, and I don’t think you ever work through it. Grief and loss, those are things that don’t ever go away. They stay with you.”
~ Keanu Reeves

Sir Ridley Scott

“I was checking through stuff the other day for technical reasons. I came across The Duellists on Netflix and I was absolutely stunned to see that it was exquisitely graded. So, while I rarely look up my old stuff, I stopped to give it ten minutes. Bugger me, I was there for two hours. I was really fucking pleased with what it was and how the engine still worked within the equation and that engine was the insanity and stupidity of war. War between two men, in that case, who fight on thought they both eventually can’t remember the reason why. It was great, yeah. The great thing about these platforms now is that, one way or another, they’ll seek out and then put out the best possible form and the long form. Frequently, films get cut down because of that curse in which the studio felt or feels that they have to preview. And there’s nothing worse than a preview to diminish the original intent.Oh, yeah, how about every fucking time? And I’ve stewed about films later even more because when you tell the same joke 20 times the joke’s no longer funny. When you tell a bad joke once or twice? It’s fine. But come on, now. Here’s the key on the way I feel when I approach the movie: I try to keep myself as withdrawn from the project as possible once I’ve filmed it. And – this is all key on this – then getting a really excellent editor so I never have to sit in on editing. What happens if you sit in is you become stale and every passage or joke, metaphorically speaking, gets more and more tired. You start cutting it all back because of fatigue. So what you have to do is keep your distance and therefore, in a funny kind of way, you, as the director, should be the preview and that’s it.”
~ Sir Ridley Scott

Bill Murray, Cannes 2019 opening press conference

“Jim just throws a lot of money at you, and gifts. He’s an operator. The guy’s a shyster. He’s a manipulator. It’s about shadows with him. I don’t know how the hell I got this job. The script was funny.”

“I believe in life after death, but not for everyone.”

“I’m my best when I’m working for a living. When I’m not working, I’m lazy. This is my little ice floe that I stand on. I hope it doesn’t melt. I hope I’ve confused you.”
~ Bill Murray, Cannes 2019 opening press conference

Richard Rushfield

“Welcome to the death of counter-programming. When the audience is everyone, there are no unclaimed niches. When a movie makes $147 million in a weekend (and a second weekend, no less), there is no niche of people who aren’t going to see it.  Ugly Dolls, Long Shot and The Intruder: all very different movies for very different audiences, but the one thing–maybe the only thing–those audiences share in common is they all want to see The AvengersNot only does it mean everyone, but it also means every screen. For instance, if you want to see a movie this very albeit post-weekend evening at the AMC Chattanooga 18–a full week and a half after Endgame came out–there are two shows of Long Shot, two shows of The Intruder, two of Ugly Dolls and eight of Endgame.”
~ Richard Rushfield

Quote Unquotesee all »

“We don’t have any idea what the universe is. Wise people have always told us that this is proof you shouldn’t think, because thinking leads you nowhere. You just build over this huge construction of misunderstanding, which is culture. The history of culture is the history of the misunderstandings of great thinkers. So we always have to go back to zero and begin differently. And maybe in that way you have a chance not to understand but at least not to have further misunderstandings. Because this is the other side of this question—Am I really so brave to cancel all human culture? To stop admiring the beauty in human production? It’s very difficult to say no.”
~ László Krasznahorkai

“I have a license to carry in New York. Can you believe that? Nobody knows that, [Applause] somebody attacks, somebody attacks me, oh, they’re gonna be shot. Can you imagine? Somebody says, oh, it is Trump, he’s easy pickings what do you say? Right? Oh, boy. What was the famous movie? No. Remember, no remember where he went around and he sort of after his wife was hurt so badly and kill. What?  I — Honestly, Yeah, right, it’s true, but you have many of them. Famous movie. Somebody. You have many of them. Charles Bronson right the late great Charles Bronson name of the movie come on.  , remember that? Ah, we’re gonna cut you up, sir, we’re gonna cut you up, uh-huh.

Bing!

One of the great movies. Charles Bronson, great, Charles Bronson. Great movies. Today you can’t make that movie because it’s not politically correct, right? It’s not politically correct. But could you imagine with Trump? Somebody says, oh, all these big monsters aren’t around he’s easy pickings and then shoot.”
~ Donald Trump