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Note: The first half of 20th-century Japanese cinema was strongly shaped by censorships: prewar military censorship and postwar American censorship. Most of period films about prewar era that were made after WWII always had obvious anti-war messages that sometimes feel out of place.

... Ozu's early films often show wartime realistic poverty but avoid talking about elephant in the room. Mizoguchi's 47 Ronin (1941) is such a beautiful pro-war propaganda. Gojira/Godzilla (1954) is very clever war allergory. Kurosawa's Seven Samurai (1954) - is that American robbing Japan's village? While mainstream cinema was full of samurai flicks, new wave directors of 1960s turned to sex, criminal, marxism, radicalism, and experimental narratives.

... Here is my list of favourite epic films chronicling 20th-century Japan:

The Insect Woman (1963) A Fugitive from the Past (1965)

Always: Sunset on Third Street (2005)

... Considering historical events, Shohei Imamura's Zegen (1987) should be included though this ultra-nationalist satire a bit underwhelms. (I chose Zegen over Kei Kumai's famous Sandakan 8 (1974) which story happens almost at the same places and period of time.)

... Yasuzo Masumura's The Red Angel (1966) sounds like a softcore porn movie in war, but he made it to be a very serious film, though sexually exploitative. I'm not sure how I feel about this strange kind of beast. He also made brilliant Giants And Toys (1958) about world of capitalism and media, that's way ahead of its time.

... The main protagonist of Masaki Kobayashi's magnum-opus Human Condition Trilogy (1959-1961) is too idealistic and too melodramatic that it annoys me. And the Chinese parts played by Japanese actors are worse. But it still achieves as one of a few Japanese films that directly depict Japan's brutality in wars, including Kei Kumai's The Sea and Poison (1986). This kind of films always have super-naive protagonists that may satisfy postwar Japanese audiences to side with, more than brutal majority in those films. Some would say this is the legacy of American censorship after WWII.

... In his masterpieces, The Burmese Harp (1956) and Fires on the Plain (1959), Kon Ichikawa masterfully make anti-war films without putting preaching words in characters' mouths or throwing messages into audiences' faces. Akira Kurosawa's No Regret for Our Youth (1946) ends like communist propaganda that may predicts 1960s movement.

... Patriotism (1966) is celebration of dying tradition that is painful to watch because four years later Yukio Mishima did hara-kiri himself as he portrayed in this film. Graves of Fireflies (1988) tries too hard to be just a tearjerker. Battles Without Honor and Humanity (1973, Kinji Fukasaku) is overrated B-movie about the rise of yakuza.

... I had been amazed by synopsis of Nagisa Oshima's A Town of Love and Hope (1959) for a long time. When I finally saw the film, this postwar-inequality cautionary tale didn't disappoint me at all. His The Sun's Burial (1960) - meaning Japan's funeral - may be the most pessimistic film about this country. Pigs and Battleships (1961) is Imamura's screaming to postwar society full of pigs (Japanese) and battleships (American), its ending is thought-provoking. Actually I can complete this whole list with filmographies of Imamura and Oshima alone.

... On my first watch of Muddy River (1981) twenty years ago, I thought it's a mediocre coming-of-age story of a boy. Now on my second viewing, Muddy River is very deep and heartbreaking story about war-surviving parents of both kids.

... Every era has rebellious younger generations of their time. Rebellion in Japan peaked with street demonstrations in 1960s and 1970s. From Crazed Fruit (1956, Kô Nakahira), Everything Goes Wrong (1960, Seijun Suzuki), Throw Away Your Books, Rally in the Streets (1971, Shuji Terayama) to The Man Who Stole the Sun (1979, Kazuhiko Hasegawa) - these kids rebel with or without a cause, usually take aim at parent generation who created wars, and try to find something to fill their invisible voids. The bad (or best) example is The Youth Killer (1976, Kazuhiko Hasegawa), I wish every characters just shut up and died.

... On the other hand, Oshima's films approach youth movement with more criticizing voice, from Cruel Story of Youth (1960) to The Man Who Left His Will On Film (1970). This kind of expressive and nihilistic films disappeared completely in 1980s with japan's economic boom. The closest may be The Family Game (1983) which is satire of the genre.

... Late 1990s saw many impressive teen movies returned: Like Grains of Sand (1995), Kids Return (1996), Eureka (2000), Go (2001), All About Lily Chou-chou (2001). They all are great but become narcissistic and repressive, in the time of Japan's economic recession.

... While expressive experimental films went underground with heavily manga influenced Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989) then became mainstream with Battle Royale (2000) directed by Kinji Fukasaku who made that yakuza saga, Battles Without Honor and Humanity (1973).

... (Battle Royale original novel takes place in fictional Republic of Greater East Asia in an alternate timeline where Japan won WWII. This military program is launched to stop people's rebellion to state.)

... I notice that two films on my two lists are foreign-made, The Last Emperor and The Sun. Both of them are about emperors.


Some of films on the list above is not my most favorite films of those directors. So here are my most favorite Japanese films alphabetically.

After Life (1998, Hirokazu Koreeda)
Death by Hanging (1968, Nagisa Oshima)
Floating Weeds (1959, Yasujiro Ozu)
Funeral Parade of Roses (1969, Toshio Matsumoto)
Naked Island (1960, Kaneto Shindo)
The Profound Desire of Gods (1968, Shohei Imamura)
Ran (1985, Akira Kurosawa)
Sansho Dayu (1954, Kenji Mizoguchi)
Spirited Away (2001, Hayao Miyazaki)
When a Woman Ascends the Stairs (1960, Mikio Naruse)

My favorite Japanese directors are:
Kenji Mizoguchi, Shohei Imamura and Nagisa Oshima

My discoveries from recent marathon-viewing are:
The Burmese Harp (1956, Kon Ichikawa)
Fires on the Plain (1959, Kon Ichikawa)
A Fugitive from the Past (1965, Tomu Uchida)
Giants And Toys (1958, Yasuzo Masumura)
Pale Flower (1964, Masahiro Shinoda)
Pastoral Hide and Seek (1974, Shuji Terayama)
Pigs and Battleships (1961, Shohei Imamura)
Pitfall (1962, Hiroshi Teshigahara)
The Red Angel (1966, Yasuzo Masumura)
Street of Shame (1956, Kenji Mizoguchi)
Yearning (1964, Mikio Naruse)


Read more
Tokyo rising: how Japan's new wave rose – and broke by  Donald Richie




I think that Hayao Miyazaki's films not only caught the zeitgeist in the late 20th Century, for audiences just starting to come to term with environmental issues, but also in the 21st Century, with millennials growing up with a sense that their world has already been despoiled. Makoto Shinkai said it best, about his controversial ending for Weathering With You (2019), when he said that he couldn't bring himself to have a hero save the world, when the real world is already past saving. He said it felt dishonest for young viewers to tell them that there was any possibility beyond somehow learning to cope with the damage that humanity has already done to the world. I think Miyazaki's works are a little bit more optimistic than that – he's ready to start with planting a single tree, and encouraging everybody else to do the same.
Jonathan Clements, The film that captures millennials' greatest fear, 20 April 2021

These streaming services have been making something that they call 'movies.' They ain't movies. They are some weird algorithmic process that has created things that last 100 minutes or so.
Barry Diller, Former Studio CEO Barry Diller Declares "The Movie Business Is Over", 8 July 2021

Bruce Lee had no respect for American stuntmen, he was always hitting them with his feet. It's called tagging when you hit a stuntman for real. He was always tagging them with his feet and his fist and it got to the point where they would refuse to work with Bruce. He had nothing but disrespect for American stuntmen. It was probably just like, ‘Oh they're just not good enough. They are pussies. I want to make it look real!' But stuntmen don't like that. That's unprofessional.
Quentin Tarantino, Tarantino Tells Critics of Bruce Lee Scene to ‘Suck a D*ck': He ‘Had No Respect for American Stuntmen', 30 June 2021

The definition between [Cinema and TV] gets a little fuzzy, but the one thing that remains pretty consistent is stuff that's narrative-based—where it's based on writers and characters—that's for TV. While I think cinema can do very well with those things, it can also go beyond that. It can bend time and deal with image, sound, color, all those poetic properties that are harder to define. I think that's the distinction between how cinema and television is made. It has nothing to do with how it's shot. It's the attitude. I've done very little television, but they're run by showrunners and change directors. I remain very much a person who loves to give myself to a director, doing their bidding or inhabiting what they need me to do. That's freedom for me, service for me, enjoyment for me.
Willem Dafoe, What Does Willem Dafoe Say Is the Difference Between Cinema and TV?, 22 June 2021

Tarantino is brilliant in his own right, but he's not making movies about things that happened recently. Or things that ever happen. He's making movies about pieces of movies, and ideas from movies.
George Edelman, Quentin Tarantino Takes Swings at John Ford and Whiffs, May 28, 2020

About time. If he's guilty of a crime, incarcerate him. If not, let him act. Many great artists have been bad people.
Paul Schrader, Kevin Spacey Casting Defended by Producer, Paul Schrader Says ‘Let Him Act' If Not Guilty, 25 May 2021

I think it's really important to put in context that I started my producing career in the 80s. It was right in the middle of the AIDS crisis. I think what that did was cause a great acceleration. There was a sense of urgency that if we didn't tell our stories, nobody else would. And nobody cared what was happening to our community. I try and describe that time to young queer people, and it's hard for them to grasp the disenfranchisement we felt. It felt like our community was dying this horrible death every day, and there was no sense that it mattered.
... So especially the first few movies I made came out of we are going to have a legacy. We will tell our stories by any means necessary... [O]ur first film, Poison— we made it for a few hundred thousand dollars with financiers and grants. The movie went to the Sundance Film Festival and won the Grand Jury Prize. Then it opened at the Angelica in New York City and broke records. It made records that stood for a very long time. The lesson to me was that queer people were so desperate for representation that they needed to see themselves on screen, even in a film that in many ways was very experimental.
Christine Vachon, Christine Vachon, mother of queer cinema, on ‘Halston,' ‘Pride,' and gaying up Hollywood, 21 May 2021

Well, a feature film . . . hopefully, if you're an artist, each time out you have a problem, a subject matter, and you need to create a style that really works. With [TV] episodic, you create a template, and then directors just follow that template. So if you're doing “The Crown,” you're doing a lot of soft focus, backlighting. They all look the same. And that's a kind of a comfort, too, because every time you watch “The Crown,” you know exactly how it's going to look. The challenge of independent film is creating something that feels new, and that is going less and less in favor. And I think you can just look at film criticism to see that, because I remember when people would read film criticism and say, “What's new? What do I need to see? What's this film that Oliver Stone did about Vietnam? I think we should see that.” That seems to be less and less part of the conversation.
... Everything is cheaper. Everything is faster. So the upside is that movies that could not afford to be made are now being made. Anybody can make a movie. Anybody who has a phone can make a movie. The downside is, although anybody can make a movie, nobody can make a living. Because in the sixties, if you got to make a movie, you made a living. You got a salary. Today, you can make a movie without getting a salary, and you can make a five-million-dollar movie for fifty thousand and lose fifty thousand. And so, so many of these young filmmakers are . . . they're making films they weren't allowed to make before, but they're not making a living, and they're not getting the kind of distribution . . . I mean, you see it all the time, films that are just being thrown out the car window hoping somebody finds them and watches them.
Paul Schrader, Paul Schrader on Making and Watching Movies in the Age of Netflix, 22 April 2021

Our population could just suddenly dip and disappear! I talked to an expert on this recently, and I said; 'Tell me the truth'. He said with mass consumption continuing as it is we will have less than 50 years… I'm hoping I'll live another 30 years. I want to see the sea rise over Tokyo and the NTV tower become an island. I'd like to see Manhattan underwater… Money and desire – all that is going to collapse, and wild green grasses are going to take over.
Hayao Miyazaki, The film that captures millennials' greatest fear, 20 April 2021

I remember Jonathan Demme saying on the first day [of “The Silence of the Lambs” shooting] —it was a Monday in January, 1990—“How do you want to be seen when Jodie comes down the corridor?” I said, “Standing in the middle of the cell.” He said, “Standing? You don't want to be reading? Why?” I said, “Because I can smell her coming down the corridor.” John said, “You're weird .” What he is, in a way, is a lover, because he's impressed that this young, physically vulnerable woman comes to visit the monster. Lecter thinks, God, she's courageous. But I'm going to take the mask off her now, so she can learn from me. He strips her down to make her a better person.
... Gregory Peck was doing “Moby Dick,” and one of the props guys found his script on the set. He opened it up and Gregory Peck had written on a certain page, “N.A.R.” So he asked, “What does this mean, Mr. Peck?” He said, “No acting required. You just look at the sea, and that's it!” And that's true [for “Thor” movies].
Anthony Hopkins, Anthony Hopkins Remembers It All, 27 February 2021

Back in 2008 I starred opposite Clint Eastwood in ‘Gran Torino' playing the lead Hmong role in a tale of two people transcending their differences to form an unlikely human bond. It was a historic cinematic moment for Hmong people around the world, despite its copious anti-Asian slurs.
... At the time, there was a lot of discussion about whether the movie's slurs were insensitive and gratuitous or simply ‘harmless jokes.' I found it unnerving, the laughter that the slurs elicited in theaters with predominantly white audiences. And it was always white people who would say, ‘Can't you take a joke?' Today, I shudder at the thought of what that meant. More than a decade later, the anti-Asian racism that was once disguised as good-natured humor has been revealed for what it is, thanks to Covid-19.
... To this day, I am still haunted by the mirth of white audiences, the uproarious laughter when Eastwood's curmudgeonly racist character, Walt Kowalski, growled a slur. ‘Gook.' ‘Slope head.' ‘Eggroll.' It's a ‘harmless joke,' right? Until it's not just a joke, but rather one more excuse for ignoring white supremacy and racism. For Asian Americans, this is the time to demand recognition, not to recoil into a cocoon of model-minority pusillanimity. Showing ‘our American-ness' was never enough. This is a deceit of multiculturalism.
Bee Vang, Clint Eastwood's ‘Gran Torino' Co-Star Says Film ‘Mainstreamed Anti-Asian Racism' in America, 18 February 2021

In a movie theatre, you watch movies with the significant others in your life, but also in the company of strangers. That's the magic we experience when we go out to see a movie or a play or a concert or a comedy act. We don't know who all these people are sitting around us, but when the experience makes us laugh or cry or cheer or contemplate, and then when the lights come up and we leave our seats, the people with whom we head out into the real world don't feel like complete strangers anymore. We've become a community, alike in heart and spirit, or at any rate alike in having shared for a couple of hours a powerful experience. That brief interval in a theatre doesn't erase the many things that divide us: race or class or belief or gender or politics. But our country and our world feel less divided, less fractured, after a congregation of strangers has laughed, cried, jumped out their seats together, all at the same time. Art asks us to be aware of the particular and the universal, both at once. And that's why, of all the things that have the potential to unite us, none is more powerful than the communal experience of the arts.
Steven Spielberg, Steven Spielberg Says Cinema Will Never Die, 17 February 2021

If further viewing is ‘suggested' by algorithms based on what you've already seen, and the suggestions are based only on subject matter or genre, then what does that do to the art of cinema? Algorithms, by definition, are based on calculations that treat the viewer as a consumer and nothing else.
Martin Scorsese, Scorsese Takes Aim at Streaming's Lack of Curation and More: ‘Cinema Is Being Devalued by Content', 16 February 2021

Terrence Malick is quite an extraordinary guy, and I love some of his movies very much, but the problem with Terry, which I soon found, is he needs a writer desperately, because he insists on doing everything. He insists on writing, and overwriting, and overwriting, until it sounds terribly pretentious. You have to work terribly hard to make it sound real. And then he edits his films in such a way where he cuts everybody out of the story. Terry gets terribly involved in poetic shots… which are gorgeous, but they're paintings. All of them. He gets lost in that, and the stories get diffused, particularly in our film [ “The New World” ].
... I was put in all sorts of different spots, my character was suddenly not in the scene I thought I was in, in the editing room. It completely unbalances everything. This very emotional scene that I had suddenly was background noise. I could hear myself saying it, this long, wonderful, moving speech that I thought I was so fantastic in. It's now background sort of score, way mild in the distance, while something else is going on. And [co-star] Colin Farrell just said, ‘Oh you know, we're just going to be a couple fucking ospreys.'
Christopher Plummer, Christopher Plummer Penned Letter to Terrence Malick After ‘New World': ‘Get Yourself a Writer', 6 February 2021




Note: I just rewatched Zhang Yimou's To Live, and it made me want to revisit chinese epic films that timelines span through 20th-century China/Hong Kong/Taiwan. This is my list of favorite ones chronologically.
... (To Live is much better for second viewing as I'm older. So Long, My Son recently made me cry so bad. I can't stand Jiang Wen's foolish humour in Devils on the Doorstep. Feng Xiaogang's Youth looks gorgeous but naive. And I want to love Ann Hui's The Golden Era but it's not enough to join the list.)

A City of Sadness (1989)




Note: My watchlist




Note: My favourite series of 2020.




I think there's something sexy about casting a straight actor to play a gay role — if they're willing to invest a lot into it. In our world that we live in you can't really as a director demand that [an actor be a given sexual orientation]. Who's to determine how gay someone is? I played a [straight] character for nine years who was nothing like me. I would definitely want to hire the best actor.
Neil Patrick Harris, Neil Patrick Harris Says It's ‘Sexy' for Straight Actors to Play Gay Roles, 23 January 2021

I don't have to spend time servicing straightness, straight relationships. Acting is investigating for me, mapping new territory, articulating things I don't get to articulate in my day-to-day. Mapping straightness, at this point... feels like a dead end. I'd like to tell — to watch — more stories where gay characters are informed by their struggles, but not defined. Not getting sacrificed so straight characters can enjoy some kind of epiphany. I don't think that's too much to ask.
Wentworth Miller, Wentworth Miller Is Done With Gay Roles Defined By Struggle, 22 January 2021

I'm not being woke about this… but I feel strongly that if I cast someone in a story, I am casting them to act as a lover, or an enemy, or someone on drugs or a criminal or a saint… they are not there to ‘act gay' because ‘acting gay' is a bunch of codes for a performance. It's about authenticity, the taste of 2020. You wouldn't cast someone able-bodied and put them in a wheelchair, you wouldn't black someone up. Authenticity is leading us to joyous places.
Russell T Davies, Russell T Davies speaks out on the importance of casting gay actors as gay characters in It's A Sin, 11 January 2021

I saw thirty minutes of [“Fight Club” ] only because our trailer is playing in front of it. And I would love to go on railing about the movie, but I'm just going to pretend as if I haven't seen it. It's just unbearable. I wish David Fincher testicular cancer, for all of his jokes about it, I wish him testicular fucking cancer.
Paul Thomas Anderson

Yeah. Look, I've been through cancer with somebody that I love, and I can understand if somebody thought... I didn't think that we were making fun of cancer survivors or victims. I thought what Chuck [Palahniuk] was doing was talking about a therapeutic environment that could be infiltrated or abused. We were talking about empathy vampirism. Cancer's rough. It's a fucking horrible thing. As far as Paul's quote, I get it. If you're in a rough emotional state and you've just been through something major.... My dad died, and it certainly made me feel different about death and suffering. And my dad probably liked ‘Fight Club' even less than Paul did.
David Fincher, David Fincher Talks About Paul Thomas Anderson Wishing Cancer On Him After Seeing ‘Fight Club': “I Get It”, 14 January 2021

What I find is people who just watch the movies to be entertained and have a good time, they get the movies and they understand the movies far better than people who fight the movies, who feel they're in some kind of chess match with the movie while they're watching it. And the reality is, the reason people get frustrated like that is because it's not a level playing field. I've had 20 years to think about these ideas. So it's not a level playing field in that sense. It's not meant to be a chess match between filmmaker and audience. It's entertainment. It's a ride you go on and, if done right, there will be aspects to it that will reward a second viewing. When you're dealing with time and when you're dealing with these sorts of complexities, you have to be making a film that the second time you watch it would be a different film.
Christopher Nolan, ‘Tenet': Christopher Nolan Says People Who “Fight The Movies” Are The Ones Who Don't “Get” The Film, 15 December 2020

Roger Deakins made jokes about my iPhone. For people who don't know. Roger was traumatized that I had ‘The Thin Red Line' from Terrence Malick on my iPhone and Roger thought it was horrific. Me, I thought it was cool because I could take the movie with me. It's not the same, but the thing is…I want to fight for the big screen, but a lot of my cinematic experiences have actually been on television.
... I discovered ‘2001: A Space Odyssey' on television, and I later realized I discovered ‘Blade Runner' on television. I discovered a lot of movies that were massive influences [on me] on television, or, like most Ingmar Bergman films, I discovered on VHS. And still, through these movies, they had a massive impact. All that debate on the size of the screen…because I am a filmmaker and I just love films.
Denis Villeneuve, Denis Villeneuve Left Roger Deakins Horrified by Having Terrence Malick Films on His iPhone, 13 July 2020




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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

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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