“I think when you get older you get less idealistic. That’s my experience with this. When you’re young 18, 19, or your early 20s, you think you know it all, all of the world, you’ve seen all of cinema. You’ve read all the most important books and then the older you get you realize the less and less you know. For me especially—I’m much less secure of my knowledge than I was when I was twenty years old. Now I don’t really want to write criticism any more because it seems… Yeah, maybe futile. Some of it relates to the fact that there’s a lot of writing out there and so it seems like same old noise stuff. But yeah: I don’t feel confident in what I’m saying because I’ve realize there’s so much I don’t know and, also, who cares about my opinion? … If you’re conscious of the fact that your opinions change based off of many different things and also you have to realize that they’re opinions. They aren’t objective proclamations about the world.”
~ Cinema Scope Publisher-Editor Mark Peranson
“The promise of the Internet has always been that it was gonna be this unprecedentedly potent instrument of liberation and democratization. That it would empower people to band together to work against oppression. That it would let you explore things and meet people who you wouldn’t otherwise get to know in completely free and unconstrained ways. And what has happened instead is that we face the threat that it’s the exact opposite—that instead the Internet could become the most potent and odious tool of human control and oppression in human history.”
~ Glenn Greenwald to Tom Junod in Esquire
“The Wolf Of Wall Street is everything you’d expected it to be and everything you’d hope it would be. It’s got Tom Wolfe on the brain and Hunter S. Thompson in its veins. You get the sense as you’re watching it that Marty Scorsese has never been happier in his career making a movie—it’s got verve and energy and there isn’t a split second that is not somehow engaging you and daring you—it seems to be the work of a man much younger than the maestro in question.”
~ Rod Lurie, on Facebook
“I talk to friends and now mainly ex-friends of mine who were liberals during the ’08 and ’12 elections, and I reason with them from my point of view, and I say, in effect, ‘Are you crazy? Don’t you know who this guy is? Don’t you know who these people are?’ What in their history do they find inconsistent with totalitarianism, or at best statism, or at worst Marxism? They want to take over the government. They don’t care how they do it. You can’t believe a word they say. For God’s sake, let’s all read Leninist doctrine. Leninist doctrine is: find the useful idiot. Tell any lie, and if they believe the big lie, tell them a bigger lie. If they believe that, tell them another lie, because what’s going to happen is after awhile, they’ve listened to so many lies and nodded, now they’re complicit, and they can’t go back and say, ‘Oh my God! What a fool I was!’” [Obama’s colleagues ”don’t want the bill to work. Obviously they didn’t want the bill to work because they didn’t know what’s in the bill. How do I know that? Nancy Pelosi told me! What they wanted to do was have the government take over a huge segment of the American economy on the way to taking over the entire American economy, and have it fail so that the government can then increase its power over its citizenry.”
~ Mr. Mamet Offers An Opinion
What was it like having to deal with a cat on set?
Awful. Well, maybe not awful, but it’s definitely not advisable. Cats do not like to be tied to a human being.
Wait—it was tied to you?
In certain situations it had to be tied to me so it wouldn’t escape. Strangely enough, the cat did not want to be tied to me by a wire while I ran into a subway station. But, as you can imagine, if a cat is tied to you and wants to escape, what is it going to do? It’s going to scratch the fuck out of you, and bite you and try to get away. We had four or five cats. Occasionally, they’d have the more relaxed or sedate one, and then sometimes it just looked like a stuffed animal because it was so calm, so they’d have to sub in the more squirrelly one.
~ Oscar Isaac Not Cool With Cats
“I’m sort of at this point wondering if I’m not a strange fit for television. And ‘The Wire’ was sort of fire in the bottle, because nobody watched ‘The Wire’ when it was on the air. And nobody watched ‘Generation Kill.’ And nobody watched ‘Treme.’ So, on some level, while I have a very good reputation after the fact for writing for television, when the stuff’s actually on the air, it isn’t all that much of an asset for a network. So, I don’t know about HBO. They may be getting hip to the fact that nobody watches my shit when it’s on the air. And that’s not likely to change, I don’t think. I’ve gone a long way in television and had a lot of fun doing what doesn’t quite work. It may be time to do something else—I don’t know—or not. But I’m curious to know what HBO thinks almost on an academic level.”
~ David Simon looks to the future
“I didn’t expect the elaborate fiction dramatizations, I didn’t expect that, that emerged organically through a very simple method, which you can trace back from the climax of the film, the scene with the waterfall. And you can trace it all the way back to that first scene, where he dances the cha-cha-cha with a wire around his neck. After I shot that scene, I wanted to know, “Will he recognize at least the meaning of that scene, of what he’s done in the mirror of the footage?” and so I screened it back to him. And I think he does recognise the meaning of what he’s done. He looks very upset, he’s very disturbed. But he does not dare say he’s disturbed. Instead, he says, what’s wrong is his clothes, and his acting. He denies what’s wrong. Again, he denies the moral meaning of what he’s done, because to say what’s really wrong with the scene, namely that it’s awful what he did, and that it makes him feel awful to re-enact it or remember it, would be to admit that what he did was wrong, and he’s never been forced to do that. So he displaces that, he has to express the discomfort but he displaces it on to his clothes and acting. And so began a five-year journey, where the method was always the same. We would shoot one scene, only one scene, watch the scene, he would respond emotionally and propose a new scene. That was how the whole film was made, and it became more and more elaborate, more and more grotesque, more and more surreal, and Anwar was proposing ever-greater embellishments to run away from the horror of the previous scene. And in that sense, Anwar is trying to deal with his pain and run away from it the whole time. The whole process was fueled by his conscience. And perhaps that’s why it’s not so surprising, in hindsight, that the fictional re-enactments become, somehow, the prism through which he sees the real meaning of what he’s done. Five years later, that final scene was the very last time I filmed him, 1200 hours of footage later.”
~ The Act Of Killing Co-Director Joshua Oppenheimer
Do you read reviews of your films?
Sometimes. The smart ones.
Do you value film criticism and are you concerned about its decline?
I think if we want a better cinema we’re all in it together. Roger Ebert said something lovely: a film critic is there to tell a film snob to go see a certain popular film, and to tell a popular audience to go see a certain rarefied film. Good critics help bring audiences to films. I work intuitively, so I might look to a critic to shed insight, to nudge me – this part was a little bit lazy or this part was good. Not that I have to take it, but a good idea can come from anywhere and a helpful word can keep me on the right track.
~ Alexander Payne
“There are no original ideas. What there is—and this is something no one understands—is that it is never about the idea, it is about the execution of the idea. I’m not that old, but many of my movies made more money the second, third, or fourth week, because we used to have what we call word of mouth. Now if a movie doesn’t make money its first two days, you’re fucked! One of the problems with the Internet that no one has solved is that for YouTube, Google, Yahoo to exist, they thrive on piracy. They must steal intellectual property; they’re like vampires. So how do you fight that? Now there are generations worldwide who believe that when they’re downloading something for free, it’s not theft. It doesn’t even occur to them, so intellectual property has become nothing. You used to be able to write a book, or do a piece, and it was yours, but now you’re raped continuously. It’s very complicated, and I don’t have any answers.”
~ John Landis On The Business That Doesn’t Hire Him Anymore
“Films, like anything that humans make, are always about something in some way. But to imagine that they are about something that could be expressed in words outside the fabric of the film itself is kind of ludicrous because then you wouldn’t make the film, you’d write it. But fiction films in particular, narrative films, are not reducible to a point, or to making a statement about the world. And nonfiction documentary suffers by contrast with this burden that spectators put on it, that filmmakers put on it… which is that it’s always elaborating an argument about the world, it’s reducible to making a statement about the world, it’s usually a political or evaluative statement. And to imagine that the whole swath, the whole domaine of reality, of everything that is nonfiction, is divested of its plenitude, of its richness, of the whole experiential sensory qualities of actually being in the world, of lived experience itself, so that they can be reduced to meaning, can be encapsulated in language, in prose, is such a travesty.”
~ Lucien Castaing-Taylor on Leviathan
“There is a language that can only be conveyed through cinema. I think most of the films we see are just illustrated narratives. Remember something: Most people just half-watch TV. They watch TV while they are doing many other things in the environment of their home. So what they are doing goes through their ears as much as through their eyes. In television, the narrative and characters are in the foreground of everything, because you are watching TV as you do other stuff. You’re following the narrative. And when it’s great, it’s amazing. When you’re doing a film, narrative is your most important tool, but it’s a tool to create a cinematographic experience, to create those moments that are beyond narrative, that are almost an abstraction of that moment that hits your psyche.”
~ Alfonso Cuarón on cinema
“If the woman you loved with all your heart left you for the Pilates instructor and just sent you an invitation to the wedding, would you go? There’s a deep commitment and emotional investment that happens when you create something that is very near and dear to you, and when that is torn asunder by sociopaths who don’t give a shit about your feelings or the feelings of your cast and crew because they have their own reasons to screw everybody, that doesn’t feel good.”
~ Frank Darabont On Life After “Walking Dead”
What’s the best bit of style advice you’ve ever received?
“Don’t over-coordinate whatever you’re doing and don’t be afraid to just do what you feel is right for yourself. I suppose that Robert Altman, the late great director I worked with three times said, ”You have to trust your instincts and finally do what is right for you, otherwise you will try and copy other people and that way madness lies.” Or you’ll be a fashionista, cloned victim of your own doing.”
~ Richard E. Grant
“I’ve always loved film and images. I continually watch important works in the history of cinema. Films from Fellini, Chaplin, Donald Brittain, Robert Frank. My mentor, Emile de Antonio, was the godfather of political documentary. A man born to fight, he was the only filmmaker to be put on President Nixon’s Enemies List. If there were ever such a thing as a radical army, de Antonio would have been the progressive general leading the alternative media shock troops into a war against oppression. His war was for independent and free expression. Which brings me to Werner Herzog. Any of Herzog’s 30-odd documentaries would uniquely define the documentary art form. Herzog said: “Perhaps I seek certain utopian things, space for human honour and respect, landscapes not yet offended, planets that do not exist yet, dreamed landscapes. Very few people seek these images today. ”He once told me, “The world is just not made for filmmaking. You have to know that every time you make a film you must be prepared to wrestle it away from the Devil himself. But carry on, dammit! Ignite the fire.”
~ From Peter Wintonick’s Documentary Manifesto, “Doc The World”
“Why do people engaged in business and industry, the engine of all the world’s societies, capitalist, socialist – and, now, Communist – never write novels? You can hardly think of a serious novel about the machinations in the committee rooms, the clandestine struggles to steal technology, the arms trade, the men who build dams and pipelines, the international conferences where the destinies of nations are decided, let alone the day-to-day being in an office which is the lot of millions. (Yes, Something happened… Heller). Was it, I wondered aloud, that the aristocratic disdain for business (still alive and well, so I’m told, in this country) has percolated down to the intellectuals (sorry, shorthand) of this country, and then, somehow, to this country’s ex-colonies? There are levels of society in Britain, including some of the most socially aware people, where it is enough to mention ‘business’ or ‘businessman’ to see delicate little moues – of distaste, imaginary skirts being drawn aside. Not so in America, where some people have to make regular visits just to get some relief from all these genteel sensibilities.
Why, I enquired, did not the members of this distinguished audience go off and write novels about their fascinating lives? One after another got to their feet, to say they indeed cherished dreams of writing novels, but it had not occurred to any of them that their business lives were interesting. One man confessed that when he retired he would write about his teenage passion for the girl next door, for this had coloured his life. Another planned something like A Sportsman’s Sketches about his hunting trips with his dog. A woman said she would write about her recent divorce and the consequent psychoanalysis.
If that enquiring sociologist from Mars (or from one of Jupiter’s moons) decided to use the good literature of the last three hundred years as a map of our societies, the 18th century would be fairly well-chartered, but the gaps would be serious in the 19th – and you could read all of 20th-century novels and never suspect that it is trade that makes the world go round. Bad literature – yes, comics, airport literature – but that’s a different matter and a different article.”
“Between the brief flowering of masculine beefcake in the fifties and the lasting shame of the seventies and eighties, there lies an entire tale of the twilight of a certain kind of masculinity, at least in our Western world.”
~ Adrian Martin On Marlon Brando
“The first time you see Jep Gambardella, the Roman sensualist magnificently, poetically adrift in The Great Beauty, he has a cigarette clenched in the center of his big, bared, ocher-stained teeth. People are surging all around him, their bodies pulsating to music that has transformed a multitude into an organism that beats like a heart. As he sways amid this delirium, Jep smiles with welcoming arms and lidded eyes, an attitude that brings to mind one of those marble saints scattered around Rome forever locked in rapture. And then Jep joins the dance, surrendering to a throng that, in absorbing him, turns an orgiastic reverie into something like a religious communion. A deliriously alive movie, The Great Beauty is the story of a man, a city, a country and a cinema, though not necessarily in that order.”
~ Dargis On The Great Beauty
“I have become tired of cinema. The so-called entertainment value of films in recent years, the mechanisms of the market, and the constant pandering to popular taste, all disgust me. I don’t feel the need to keep making films or, to put it more bluntly, to make the kinds of films that expect the patronage of cinema audiences anymore. I keep asking myself: what is cinema? Why make films? Who am I doing this for? Who is the mass audience? Are they the people who watch Spielberg movies? Frankly speaking, I am not interested in this at all… I can’t make films for the system. Cinema as an object of consumption limits my creativity. I feel disorientated by the speed imposed on us. For me, slowness is a technique, an instrument helping me to find a path through this disorientation.”
~ Tsai Ming-liang in the press notes to Stray Dogs
“I don’t like everything. I like historical movies, but I am not a fan of the costume drama. Another genre I have no respect for is the biopic. They are just big excuses for actors to win Oscars. It’s a corrupted cinema. Even the most interesting person–if you are telling their life from beginning to end, it’s going to be a fucking boring movie. If you do this, you have to do a comic book version of their whole life. For instance, when you make a movie about Elvis Presley, you don’t make a movie about his whole life. Make a movie about one day. Make a movie about the day Elvis Presley walked into Sun Records. Make a movie about the whole day before he walked into Sun Records, and the movie ends when we walks through that door. That’s a movie.”
~ Tarantino Has His Likes
“Wannabe screenwriters sorely lack getting the truth from these so-called scriptwriting teachers. McKee is the perfect example: he’s had one TV movie made, and yet he pontificates on how to write scripts… I’ve been writing scripts for 40 years; I’ve had 17 of them made. Basic Instinct wouldn’t have been the movie it was if I hadn’t taken Paul Verhoeven and Michael Douglas to the wall. My basic message is: believe in what you do, and put your heart and soul into it, and then be willing to fight for it.”
~ Joe Eszterhas