{Of all lies, art is the least untrue - Flaubert}

Friday, May 18, 2007

Directors on Other Directors and their Films

Before I return the film books to the library, I should copy something more. Here are directors speaking about other directors and their films.

Pedro Almodóvar on David Lynch

When he films certain objects in close ups, he manages to give these shots genuine suggestive power. Not only are the images faultless from an aesthetic viewpoint, but they are also full of mystery. His approach is close to mine except that since I am more fascinated by actors, I like to film faces, while Lynch, who was trained in the plastic arts, is clearly more interested in objects.

Jean-Luc Godard on Alain Resnais' Hiroshima mon amour

When I was part of the New Wave, we spent time discussing other people's films. And I remember that when we saw Hiroshima mon amour by Alain Resnais, we were just stunned. We thought we had discovered everything about cinema, we thought we knew it all, and suddenly we were confronted with something that had been done without us, without our knowledge, and that deeply moved us. It was as though the Soviets in 1917, had discovered that another country had had a Communist revolution which worked as well as theirs - or even better ! Image how they would have felt ...

Emir Kusturica on Jean Renoir's The Rules of the Game

I personally consider it to be the cinema's greatest masterpiece in terms of direction. For me, this film is the peak of elegance in narration, with framing done in focal lengths that are neither too long nor too short, always adapted to human vision, with great visual richness and great depth of field. Moreover, it was Renoir - and even perhaps also his father, the painter - who influenced my manner of always creating very deep and very rich frames.

Takeshi Kitano on Akira Kurosawa

If students were to ask me, "What's a great film?" I'd immediately send them to see Kagemusha, The Seven Samurai, or Rashomon. The amazing thing about Kurosawa's films, I find, is the precision of the image. In the framing and the placing of the characters, the composition is always perfect, even when the camera is moving. You could easily take each one of the 24 frames in every second and it would make a beautiful picture. I think that's the ideal definition of cinema: a succession of perfect images. And Kurosawa is the only director who has attained that.

Ingmar Bergman on Jean Renoir

A French critic compared Smiles of the Summer Night to The Rules of the Game, so I wanted to see the film. When an American producer, who wanted to make me a present, asked me to choose one. I requested a print of Renoir's film to put in my private cinematheque. I think its an extremely bad picture. It is badly acted. Renoir is very overrated director. He has only made one good picture: The Human Beast.

Michelangelo Antonioni on Francois Truffaut

I think his films are like a river, lovely to see, to bathe in, extraordinarily refreshing and pleasant. Then the water flows and is gone. Very little of the pleasant feeling remains because I soon feel dirty again and need another bath. [...] His images are as powerful as those of Resnais or Godard, but his stories are frivolous. I suppose that's what I object to. Rene Clair told light stories, too, but they touch me more. I don't know why Truffaut leaves me unmoved. It's not trying to say that he has no significance. I only mean that the way he tells a story doesn't come to anything. Perhaps he doesn't tell my kind of stories. Perhaps that's it.

Francois Truffaut on Michelangelo Antonioni

(When asked why he hates Antonioni)
First, for his lack of humor. He is so solemn, so terribly pompous. I don't like the image he projects of himself as the psychologist of the feminine soul. When De Gaulla was trying to restore the confidence of the French in Algeria, he said, "French men and women, I have understood you." Antonioni stands like that and says, "Women of the world, I have understood you." And he follows the fashion. That's why he was arrested the other day at the London airport with hashish in his shoe.

Fedrico Fellini on Ingmar Bergman

He showed it (Hour of the Wolf) to me when he came to Rome. Its fantasy is completely different from mine, more Nordic. I would call Hour of the Wolf Bergman's 8 1/2. Indeed, he confesses candidly that he has seen all my films and cites them in his own. Being a rich, an authentic artist, he can borrow from others without any guilt of plagiarism. I value Bergman a lot. He is a real man of spectacle and images, one of the best.

Vittorio de Sica on Pier Paolo Pasolini

He is good, particularly in his Roman films like Accatone, but I also admire his Oedipus Rex. Perhaps Pasolini is a bit too literary, too educated. Its been said that Shakespeare is better played by ignorant than by overly cultivated actors. Pasolini imposes his immense cultivation on his work; he could probably use more freedom, greater simplicity.

Ingmar Bergman on Michelangelo Antonioni's L'Avventura

The picture is a mess. He has no idea where to put the camera. He had no money. The actors went away. I think he had enormous problem the whole time. But he wanted to tell something about the loneliness of human being. I can see this picture time after time, and I don't know what touches me the most - how he succeeds without knowing how to do it, or what he wants to say.

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