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You know what happened? We've hit ‘Anomalisa'. We made it ourselves. We made it in the middle of nothing in the middle of nowhere. We didn't know what we had. We finished it. We started sending it to Telluride and Venice and Toronto [film festivals], and these people went crazy for it. And it won! And everybody was bidding on it to buy it, because we didn't have distribution. And we won the Silver Lion at Venice . And I thought, holy cow.
... And then … nothing happened. The movie didn't do any business. And I really felt weird about that, because this is the second time that's happened to me. And it's like, I just stopped caring. And this thing with Netflix is … It doesn't matter. There's no box office. The movie will play on Netflix forever – and it won't disappear in a week because the box office isn't doing well. And that's fine with me. And so, that sort of pushed me in the direction of not caring I think. Not that I don't want to work or not be interested. It just means that it's outside of my control.
... I don't like thinking about box office. I don't like thinking about commercial viability. All those things that get put into your head, that turn you into some kind of numbskull and unable to do the thing that's important. I want to be rid of it. I'm done with it. It's not important to me. I understand that now. And the fact that I don't care anymore, it makes it easier because I can do the work if I get the work. When I said that this was going to be my last movie, that was basically what I was saying. I mean, I wasn't making a public pronouncement. I was saying, ‘I don't care how this is perceived. I'm going to make the movie I want to make.'
Charlie Kaufman, Charlie Kaufman “Just Stopped Caring” About Directing After ‘Anomalisa's' Disappointing Box Office, 2 September 2020

When I am enjoying a film I just don't see editing. I find over-cutting is just the curse of what I see on television, in particular on streaming shows. It's just reactions shoehorned in everywhere and fast cutting for no reason. I feel like somebody is dragging me. I feel like I'm being manipulated and I reject that. That's the worst mistake [in editing], for me.
... I won't say who, but there is a film that won an Oscar very recently that had this ridiculous amount of cutting just to show someone sitting down at the table. Yes, it's kinetic, but it doesn't feel good. It feels like I'm being fed bad food. I prefer restraint and strategic thinking about when to cut.
Joe Walker,‘Blade Runner 2049' and ‘Dune' Editor Says Over-Cutting Is ‘the Curse' of Streaming TV Shows, 29 August 2020

 

 
 

 

Note: My favourite series of 2020 so far.

 

 
 

 

People have died all the way through human history, but people live like they are immortal. They don't want to think about death. But now, every person is [aware] of death. That is good for the progress of consciousness. We will become more conscious.
... We need to adapt ourselves to a new way of feeling life, and that is interesting. Art will change. The goal of movies is to make business. Now, people are waiting for something more, in order to have the joy of life. We cannot continue to see Supermans and violence. We'll need to discover how beautiful the human being is, so beautiful it is to be alive.
... I had a son who was 24 years old who died, and that put me in a big depression. All my conceptions of art changed. What is art? Why am I making pictures? To amuse the people, to make money, to be a celebrity? How am I useful? Art that doesn't heal isn't real art. I am not thinking about the political. I am speaking of human beings. That's why I did psychomagic [trauma therapy].
Alejandro Jodorowsky, Alejandro Jodorowsky on How the Pandemic Can Save Cinema, 13 August 2020

Miramax was a place that gave me an incredibly big shot, but it was also an incredibly thuggish place to work. It had a very unusual environment at that time. [It was] this place that seemed golden, in Hollywood's eyes, and in the zeitgeist. You felt honored to be included, but you also felt like you were a cog in a system that was dark and corrupt. It seemed like everyone was reading their own clippings and feeling thrilled to be part of this club that was the hottest little studio in the world.
... At that time, one of the techniques that Bob and Harvey would use on you, as a filmmaker, was to talk to ‘experts' — people who had produced cop movies 20 years before, who they were friends with in the city, or the political brass in New York — and use them as a kind of testimony about what was right or wrong about your picture. By the way, they also used critics. I mean, they had this great game going where they would show your film early to a critic. Then, the critic would offer their notes. They'd literally tell Harvey that they would be kinder to the film if you made certain changes. It was this incredibly incestuous world where they had figured out how to pull people whose support they needed into the process — and thereby gain their endorsement later, when the film emerged. It was a system. Like all systems, people are rewarded with the ego gratification of being part of a process. It never feels corrupt to any of the participants in the moment because they just feel like their great, creative minds are being accessed for advice. What's better than that? I don't necessarily think it was nefarious on the part of the critics, but nonetheless, they ended up playing a role in that ecosystem.
James Mangold, James Mangold Recalls ‘Incestuous' System Between Harvey Weinstein's Miramax and Film Critics, 11 August 2020

The power of the screen has always been its intimacy– at least up to CinemaScope, which I hate. The director would command an audience to see only what he regarded as dramatically important. He used the close-up to say something without distractions. But Godard never uses any close-ups, which is contradictory since he and his contemporaries are interested in form. I'm more interested in content, I must confess, but something does come out of the form-over-content thinking.
... My generation, when we started in the silent era, had to think in terms of action. We created pictures in motion. Godard, who is very consistent, goes to great pains to continue our work. Our methods are different, of course. I come to a studio in the morning knowing what I want. I don't change.
Fritz Lang, A man for all seasons: Fritz Lang interviewed in 1967, 4 August 2020

‘Dune' is a book that's like Proust. It's science fiction but it's very, very literary. It's very difficult to find images to put in the film because pictures are optical. When I had the idea to do that, it was in an ecological [crisis]. I was feeling what all the people feel today. We're in an ecological problem, because the Earth is changing, and your crazy President doesn't believe that. That is ‘Dune' in the beginning.
... The first time they said it was safe to do ‘Dune,' and [David Lynch] did it, I was ill, because it was my dream. They showed the picture in Paris, and my son said, ‘You need to see the picture.' I was ill to do that. Ill. And then they start to show the picture, and step by step, I was so happy, so happy, so happy because it was a shitty picture. I realized, ‘Dune,' nobody can do it. It's a legend.
Alejandro Jodorowsky, Alejandro Jodorowsky Will See Denis Villeneuve's ‘Dune,' but Says ‘It's Impossible' to Do It Right, 4 August 2020

It's a weird business, the film business. We honor creativity and talent and we forgive the brilliant ones. Unconsciously, we probably do enable them by turning a blind eye to whatever they're doing and taking their product and putting it out to the world... You have to understand, [Bryan Singer] was brilliant, and that was why we all tolerated him and cajoled him. And if he wasn't so fucked up, he would be a really great director.
Shuler Donner, Bryan Singer's Traumatic 'X-Men' Set: The Movie "Created a Monster", 17 July 2020

At the peak of his fame Malcolm McDowell starred in Caligula, a fevered Roman epic bankrolled by Penthouse magazine. The production sounds hilarious; it was basically two films in one. First, McDowell played the mad emperor alongside a classy lineup of actors that included Helen Mirren, John Gielgud and Peter O'Toole. Then the producers brought in adult performers to shoot hardcore sex scenes to be deployed as extended cutaways, seemingly at random, so as to give the impression that McDowell was gazing wistfully at a lesbian orgy, or a gladiator getting a blowjob. “There's quite a good movie in there somewhere,” he says. “But not the porn stuff.”
Xan Brooks, Malcolm McDowell: 'I have no memory of doing most of my films', 17 July 2020

My films don't make money. In 2008, the first movie that I directed, Synecdoche, New York, came out, and it lost money. And at that time the movie industry, coincidentally, fell apart because of the economic crisis and studios stopped making movies and started making superhero franchise things. The sort of mid-budget movie that I've been working on, there was no outlet for it any more. It just didn't exist.
Charlie Kaufman, 'Making people laugh makes me feel validated as a human', 11 July 2020

The art of directing for the commercial market is to know just how far you can go. In many ways I am freer now to do what I want to do than I was a few years ago. I hope in time to have more freedom still – if audiences will give it to me.
Alfred Hitchcock, Alfred Hitchcock: my own methods, 1 July 2020

My wife grew up in Siberia. Her mother tongue is Russian. My mother tongue is Bavarian. Which is not even German, it's a dialect. But we decided, 25 years ago, that we would not speak in German or Russian to each other. Both of us leave the comfort zone of our language, and we communicate in English. This means that we are very cautious and careful. We are trying to articulate our feelings as closely as we can in a foreign tongue. And the result? In 25 years there has not been a single foul word that has passed between us.
Werner Herzog, 'I'm fascinated by trash TV. The poet must not avert his eyes', 19 June 2020

 

 
 

 

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Gone With The Wind and The Birth of a Nation are the most popular movies ever made (when box-office accounts are adjusted for inflation). These historical romances are interesting for divining American spirit; their art surpasses politics — even political correctness... Millennial moralizers don't understand that GWTW was the work of Hollywood progressives. Each character's life was given humane measure, which Hollywood no longer knows how to do... When maniacal progressives are on a censorious rampage — and our corporations and institutions go along with it — we lose our cultural foundation and deny the truth about ourselves.
Armond White
, Why GWTW Lives Matter, 12 June 2020

Timothée Chalamet afterward publicly stated he regretted working with me and was giving the money to charity. But he swore to my sister he needed to do that as he was up for an Oscar for Call Me By Your Name, and he and his agent felt he had a better chance of winning if he denounced me, so he did.
Woody Allen, 'Do I really care?' Woody Allen comes out fighting, 29 May 2020

The media made us stars and didn't take care of the subject of the film [La Haine]. They asked me questions where I said: ‘Don't ask me that, go to the projects and talk to the guys there.' But they didn't want to talk to them.
Mathieu Kassovitz, ‘It was our life, but larger than life': how La Haine lit a fire under French society, 23 May 2020

Alfred Hitchcock created North by Northwest for an audience. He orchestrated their oohs and aahs, when they would lean forward and when they would sit back. This wasn't about someone on the sofa at home getting distracted by their phone or the doorbell or going to get a drink. The place was full of energy and at the end everyone stood and applauded; just as they did when I saw Slumdog Millionaire at the ArcLight in Los Angeles.
...Can you imagine being on a rollercoaster ride on your own? The majority of the experience is that you are with other people and are thrilled together. That's what makes it exciting. There is nothing better than witnessing a story with other people. It is a collective thing and a confirmative of humanity. I am just desperate that people do go back to cinemas. It's too painful. I don't want this to ever die – and I am definitely not alone.
Steve McQueen, 'I barely breathed': Tilda Swinton, Emma Thompson, Steve McQueen and more on their most memorable moments at the movies, 15 May 2020

I saw The Thin Red Line in a cinema in Toronto in Canada when I was 20. I entered the theatre militantly atheist, depressed and with the belief that working in film was a superficial thing to do with one's life. I left the theatre with a glimpse of what faith meant, having been lifted and carried out of my sadness, and wanting to make my own films one day. In the dark of the cinema, among strangers, I was transformed.
Sarah Polley, 'I barely breathed': Tilda Swinton, Emma Thompson, Steve McQueen and more on their most memorable moments at the movies, 15 May 2020

I'm not writing stories about societies falling apart at the moment, so read into that what you will. If you look at classic dystopian stories, it becomes every man for himself immediately. Actually, in this crisis, what's happened is you're more likely to be sitting indoors watching Tiger King and worrying that your neighbour's OK and asking to see if they need you to bring in a bag of potatoes or whatever. What's actually happening at the moment is much more cohesive and heartening.
... At the moment, if you were trying to write a story about a pandemic sweeping the world and everyone immediately turning on each other, plenty of people would look at that and go: ‘Well, that isn't what's happened.' So there's plenty of room for bleak stories and horror movies – it's just I think you've got to approach it slightly differently.
Charlie Brooker, 'I assumed I would end up stumbling through rubble eating rats. This confirms it', 13 May 2020

We're turning a 5-minute idea into a feature film! But then Jermaine [Clement, co-director of What We Do in the Shadows ] said ‘the world needs stupid shit' and I realized... Who wants to go and see a film that reminds us how terrible the world is?  We need ridiculous movies to remind us that we're the dumbest, clumsiest animals.
Taika Waititi, 'We're in a Very Cool Place Right Now Where Hollywood is Running Out of Ideas': Taika Waititi on Breaking All of the Rules, 12 September 2018

 

 
 

 

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Well, I spoke with Soderbergh, who's heading this DGA committee to restart production. I have about 85 percent of my film done. I could create a simulated version. He said not to do it, to wait, because a simulated version will never be the same thing. There are a lot of films out there where I don't know if they'll be able to go back. Michael Mann shot for a week in Tokyo. When is he ever going to be able to go back to Tokyo? Will I be able to make a film again over the next year? Have we seen Scorsese's last film? Eastwood's last film? Ridley Scott's last film? My last film? If we can't go back to work for a year, who knows what our health will be like?
Paul Schrader, Paul Schrader Wants Netflix and Amazon to Save the World's Biggest Film Festivals, 7 May 2020  

For Tarantino, Hollywood's golden glow is directly tied to the blonde hair and wide eyes of Sharon Tate. Long cited as the angel of innocence whose brutal murder marked the end of the 1960s era of free love, it's hard to watch Tarantino's feature and ignore the white privilege presented in its depiction of Los Angeles. The Hollywood of “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” is one where minority actors and their struggles are erased or just non-existent.
... In comparison to “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” what Ryan Murphy does [ in "Hollywood" ] is craft a fairy tale where the machine is a beating heart. Where moguls care about their stars, where race isn't just an easy, exploitable buzzword to put butts in seats but a true ability to change the world. The characters understand the responsibility film has to change hearts and minds, and it acts on it. There's a bigger role at play. And while the time period is a world we'll never see, it's an acknowledgement not about what we lost, but what we have failed to achieve. The reality is more painful than fiction.
Kristen Lopez, Ryan Murphy's ‘Hollywood' Is a Better Version of the Hollywood Fairy Tale Than ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood', 3 May 2020  

I wanted to do something specifically on three Hollywood icons who had,  I believed, really been treated poorly. That was Rock Hudson and Anna May Wong and Hattie McDaniel. I was very interested in them, even as a kid... [They] were all in the LGBTQ community. Rock was gay and Anna May and Hattie were bisexual. I thought it would be interesting to give them the happy ending that they deserved — to have these fictionalized people, in a revisionist way, usher in a Hollywood that I wish had happened 50 years ago, 60 years ago.
... I related to all of them. Three people who had so much to give and who were denied by the system that opportunity... When I came to town, the men in power could really give a shit about me. I was never mentored. It was the women who were the outsiders who said, 'You have something unusual; I'm going to give you an opportunity.' That role [Avis] was me paying tribute to all of the women who have pushed my stuff through the system.
Ryan Murphy, Why Rewriting Hollywood Is Personal for Ryan Murphy and Janet Mock, 2 May 2020  

The first ‘Hellboy' movie was developed before even X-Men was on film. I remember visiting the ‘Mystery Men' set to try to convince Universal to green light it. It languished for a long time. To my mind, the first ‘Blade' was instrumental in showing how superhero movies could exist at the end of the 20th century. There was a collision of ‘Dark City' and ‘Blade' that somehow, in subtle ways paved the way for ‘The Matrix' to explode into the world. But, still, back then it was a countermovement to try and do superhero films, specially with material that didn't have Marvel numbers.
... What allowed the two [‘Hellboy'] films to exist, it's gone. The Blu-ray DVD performance of the first ‘Hellboy' was massive. So big that Ben Feingold, at Columbia, went full-on on the sequel development. Ben was so impressed by those numbers that he made ‘Hellboy' one of the very first Blu-rays from Columbia Pictures. Far as I can recall, the number for home video surpassed theatrical.
Guillermo del Toro, What Allowed ‘Hellboy' Films to Be Made No Longer Exists, 27 April 2020

Movies have become more about the aesthetic than the story and the content and what the film is trying to say. I find that pretty disappointing and pretty depressing.
Roger Deakins, Why is Roger Deakins Disappointed in Modern Filmmaking?, 9 April 2020

Many of the dangers we face indeed arise from science and technology - but more fundamentally, because we have become powerful without becoming commensurately wise. The world-altering powers that technology has delivered into our hands now require a degree of consideration and foresight that has never before been asked of us.
Carl Sagan

“Wuhan: The Long Night” by Lan Bo

 

 
 

 

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Giving Polanski a prize was quite a statement. The film is something a lot of people work on, not just him. Giving him the prize protects him – it says you cannot reach him and the French cinema elite will stick together: it's like a cinema mob and he's the godfather.
Alexis Poulin, Polanski's ‘Oscar' divides elite world of French cinema, 1 March 2020

[TV series is] certainly filmmaking, but it's not exactly cinema. In writing it, your rhythms are quite different. It can be pretty delicious for a writer. Perhaps less so for a director. It's not the same as directing a movie where you're completely responsible for the look of the thing, the casting, and so on. [But] many of the series that I've seen on Netflix or Amazon Prime have very, very good directing by directors I've never heard of.
David Cronenberg, David Cronenberg Isn't Finished With Film Yet, 28 February 2020

I don't know if I should say this or not. Not because it's lascivious or something, but because it's gonna screw me on the next mystery movie that I write. But forget it, I'll say it, it's very interesting. Apple, they let you use iPhones in movies, but, and this is very pivotal, if you're ever watching a mystery movie, bad guys cannot have iPhones on camera. Every single filmmaker who has a bad guy in their movie that's supposed to be a secret wants to murder me right now.
Rian Johnson, Rian Johnson Reveals Apple Won't Allow Bad Guys in Movies to Use iPhones, 26 February 2020

We have a very modest goal for [Velvet Goldmine ]. That's just to turn every gay person straight and every straight person gay.
Todd Haynes, 'People who say Trump is bound to win are letting it happen', 26 February 2020

With globalisation comes a breaking down of barriers – directors can move around and plant their visions wherever they wish – but in auteur-driven cinema perhaps we lose some piquancy, a more pointed vision, a more heightened and individual outlook, when directors stray into different lands.
Caspar Salmon, Lost in translation: when film-makers hit the language barrier, 24 February 2020

I wanted to eliminate voiceover, any slaughtering, any blood, because a lot of films are made about this, and people are still not getting it. Now we will just look at them and look how they are and maybe people will get it. I decided to eliminate music. I can make emotional film and people will cry, without manipulating them.
Victor Kossakovsky, How ‘Gunda' Director Victor Kossakovsky Found Joaquin Phoenix – and the ‘Meryl Streep' of Pigs, 23 February 2020

On a personal level, as filmmakers, I don't think that this epidemic will somehow dent our passions or our eagerness to continue making films. This epidemic has caused us to stop and think about our society and a lot of issues that we haven't been reflecting on for a long period of time. So on a creative level, we may find a lot of source of inspiration as a result of this epidemic to make more work.
Jia Zhangke, Jia Zhangke's New Movie Delayed by Coronavirus, Talks Outbreak's Impact on China's Film Industry, 21 February 2020

Marcello ends the film [ "La Dolce Vita" ] unmoored, shouting unheard words, just as in his first appearance. He has no idea what to do with all of the ugliness he perceives in his beautiful world, symbolized by the ghastly mutant fish that washes up on the pristine Italian beach in this final scene. The viewer may share in his despair, as he's caught once again between the sacred and profane. But there's also penumbra of envy to it, that at least he had plenty of the sacred to go around.
Charles Bramesco, La Dolce Vita at 60: the fame, the fortune, the fountain, 5 February 2020

I've got a massive thing that I'm doing, and after that I'm gonna get out of this, I'm gonna get out of film after this. I've got another half of my life to live and I want to think about charities and finding a way to help people, not doing this bullshit, caring about box office, distribution and all this.
Shane Carruth, ‘Upstream Color' Director Shane Carruth Says He's Done With The Film Industry After His Next Project, 16 January 2020

 

 
 

 

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