"Every movie I make. That’s my hideout, the place I don’t quite understand, but feel most at home."

—Ang Lee

Still from Brokeback Mountain (2005, dir. Ang Lee)

"One day as an adolescent I went into a cinema and saw a film made about five years earlier but only projected in Spain belatedly: de Sica’s Bicycle Thieves [1948]. I was deeply moved by it and, at 12 or 13, realised there was a whole side to cinema I’d had no idea about. For the first time I saw realism in cinema: faces like those I saw in the street, situations I could recognise. So that’s probably the point where I left innocence behind for a more conscious approach to cinema. I became a desperate cinephile, went to all the cine clubs. And I came to understand that films were not just for fun, they could also be an act of resistance. …In my own way I try to continue to resist and use film in that way.”

— Victor Erice on cinema as an art of resistance

Stills from The Spirit of the Beehive (1973, dir. Victor Erice)

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"In L’Enfant, we have a main character, Bruno, a man who cannot be a father, who is never able to be a father, and it feels like at the end of the movie he at last became a father. Well, I’m not sure things will be OK afterwards. But it seems like when they’re in the prison, where people can speak with their families, I think he says, “how’s Jimmy, how is he doing?” Well, he never said the name of the kid before. It means that he has changed. Because of the kid that he has saved from the water, Steve, he became someone else. It takes time. So we felt that it was the right moment to end the movie. Our movies are like portraits.”
— Luc Dardenne on the ending of L’Enfant
Still from L’Enfant (2005, dir. Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne) via communicants

"In L’Enfant, we have a main character, Bruno, a man who cannot be a father, who is never able to be a father, and it feels like at the end of the movie he at last became a father. Well, I’m not sure things will be OK afterwards. But it seems like when they’re in the prison, where people can speak with their families, I think he says, “how’s Jimmy, how is he doing?” Well, he never said the name of the kid before. It means that he has changed. Because of the kid that he has saved from the water, Steve, he became someone else. It takes time. So we felt that it was the right moment to end the movie. Our movies are like portraits.”

— Luc Dardenne on the ending of L’Enfant

Still from L’Enfant (2005, dir. Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne) via communicants

Ernest Lehman on the struggles of writing North by Northwest —- 

"[Hitchock] said, ‘I always wanted to do a chase across the faces of Mount Rushmore.’ And I thought, "Hey, I really like that idea." And that was the seed of the flower that took eleven months to grow. But I had to ask myself, "Who’s chasing whom over the faces of Mount Rushmore?" and "How do they get there?" and "Why?" And that took quite a bit of doing on my part. I remember that I used to squeeze out a tiny bit of the screenplay every day, fully convinced that it would never actually become a movie. There were many nights when I would be driving home from the studio thinking that we were just kidding ourselves — and wondering how long the charade would go on.

The truth is, even with all my experience, I really didn’t know how to write the script. I’d never written a movie like that before, but gradually I eked it out — or, at least, the first sixty-five pages — and then Hitch went off to make Vertigo. So I’d sit there in my lonely office, and many times I’d go home at night having written less than half a page, completely discouraged. And several times I tried to quit while he was away. … And the only way I could get out of it was to “write” my way out of it. And I think that, despite the unpleasantness of having to work under those conditions, I wound up at the top of my form as a writer, and later, Hitch was at the top of his form when he directed the picture.” 

Still from North by Northwest (1959, dir. Alfred Hitchcock)

"I’m more rigid than my dad is about editing…he moves things all over the place; I stick to the script. He finds the movie in the editing room; I find the movie after the sound mix."

— Sofia Coppola on how her process differs from her father’s

Still of Sofia Coppola and Francis Ford Coppola taken on the set of The Godfather:Part II (1974)

"Something that you should take particular notice of is the fact that the best scripts have very few explanatory passages. Adding explanation to the descriptive passages of a screenplay is the most dangerous trap you can fall into. It’s easy to explain the psychological state of a character at a particular moment, but it’s very difficult to describe it through the delicate nuances of action and dialogue. Yet it is not impossible. A great deal about this can be learned from the study of the great plays, and I believe the ‘hard-boiled’ detective novels can also be very instructive.”

— Akira Kurosawa on what makes a good script

Still from Seven Samurai (1954, dir. Akira Kurosawa)

Composition #46: In the Mood for Love (2000, dir. Wong Kar-wai). Cinematography by Christopher Doyle

Compositions #1-45

Sister love. Sister style. Catherine Deneuve and Françoise Dorléac. 

I have a film recommendation to get you into spring: The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967, dir. Jacques Demy)

It’s got colors, music, dance, Deneuve and Dorleac playing sisters, and Gene Kelly (!!) Oh, and music by Michel Legrand. 

More Catherine Deneuve here.  

Cinema needs to be reduced to its essential poetry. It’s a cycle that happens, and we’re in it now, maybe forcibly by worldwide economics, and maybe that’s a very good thing. Already in Greece, Romania, for years now in Iran, there are these beautiful gardens of new cinema that come in places where you would think, “How can they be making films in places the crisis is so severe?” But it’s happening. I’m not a predictor, but I embrace people finding their own way to express themselves. I have a lot of hope for it. You cannot kill these beautiful forms, but you just can’t help them with a lot of money.

"It’s difficult to think of a film that has a more powerful understanding of the way that people are bound to the world around them, by what they see and touch and taste and hear. I realize that L’avventura is supposed to be about characters who are “alienated” from their surroundings, but that word has been used so often to describe this film and Antonioni’s films in general that it more or less shuts down thought. In fact, I see it, more than ever, as a movie about people in spiritual distress: their spiritual signals are disrupted, which is why they see the world around them as hostile and unforgiving. Visually, sensually, thematically, dramatically, in every way, it’s one of the great works of cinema.”

— Martin Scorsese on Antonioni’s L’avventura

Still from L’avventura (1960, dir. Michelangelo Antonioni) Cinematography by Aldo Scavarda