Composition #51.

The Graduate (1967, dir. Mike Nichols) Cinematography by Robert Surtees

Compositions #1-50

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Good work usually arises where the creators seem to have no ambitions towards gilt culture but are involved in a kind of squandering-beaverish endeavor that isn’t anywhere or for anything. A peculiar fact about termite-tapeworm-fungus-moss art is that it goes always forward eating its own boundaries, and, likely as not, leaves nothing in its path other than the signs of eager, industrious, unkempt activity.
Manny Farber

"We were asked by Paramount, as one of the conditions to shooting in B&W… to also deliver a color version, so I was restricted from using B&W film stock…We ended up shooting digital because my digital intermediate process in post was supposed to emulate the look of film stock… I’ve told everybody it’s digital, but a lot of people assume it’s black and white [film stock].”

— Cinematographer Phedon Papamichael on shooting Nebraska 

Still from Nebraska (2013, dir. Alexander Payne)

"I don’t relate to standard psychologizing in novels. I don’t really believe that the backstory is the story you need. And I don’t believe it’s more like life to get it—the buildup of “character” through psychological and family history, the whole idea of “knowing what the character wants.” People in real life so often do not know what they want. People trick themselves, lie to themselves, fool themselves. It’s called survival, and self-mythology. I wanted to create a person who felt in her thinking how I think a person might actually think, but through literary language, mine, not stream of consciousness (with all due respect for those experiments), and maybe that’s one trick of it. …

Certain films can help for that, too, in terms of understanding how multiple conversations at a table, or in a room, can take place and remain separate, and dissonant, and also gather themselves, accidentally, into a collective rhythm and an affect. Altman is very good at that, for instance. So is Jean Renoir.”

— Rachel Kushner on her protagonist, Reno, in her novel, The Flamethrowers

Photo of Rachel Kushner by Graeme Mitchell

"I don’t approach a film with an idea of making it about a certain theme. Personal experiences or figures or constellations of individuals are what interest me. Journalists have to condense these things and write about them in a catchy way, but that’s not how art works. Most catchy phrases are generalizations, because that’s the only way. The minute something can be described with a single term, it’s dead artistically. Nothing living is left, and there’s no reason to watch the film. That’s always the problem with an artistic statement and an article about it. When you watch a film without any prior knowledge, it’s much more contradictory and complex. Amour involves a thousand different things, and when I emphasize one of them, I reduce all the others.”
— Michael Haneke on his approach to filmmaking

Still from Amour (2012, dir. Michael Haneke)

"I don’t approach a film with an idea of making it about a certain theme. Personal experiences or figures or constellations of individuals are what interest me. Journalists have to condense these things and write about them in a catchy way, but that’s not how art works. Most catchy phrases are generalizations, because that’s the only way. The minute something can be described with a single term, it’s dead artistically. Nothing living is left, and there’s no reason to watch the film. That’s always the problem with an artistic statement and an article about it. When you watch a film without any prior knowledge, it’s much more contradictory and complex. Amour involves a thousand different things, and when I emphasize one of them, I reduce all the others.”

— Michael Haneke on his approach to filmmaking

Still from Amour (2012, dir. Michael Haneke)

As I head into pre-production for my feature film, I’ve been re-reading this book.  This passage resonates right now:

"Hide the ideas, but so that people find them. The most important will be the most hidden." 


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As I head into pre-production for my feature film, I’ve been re-reading this book.  This passage resonates right now:

"Hide the ideas, but so that people find them. The most important will be the most hidden." 

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One of the many cool things about being selected as one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film, is checking out the other filmmakers’ work.  :: kogonada also made it on this year’s list and I’m just baffled by and in awe of what this guy is doing.  

Above is just one of his many beautiful pieces, entitled Ozu // Pasageways.  

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Composition #50. Pierrot le Fou (1965, dir. Jean-Luc Godard) Cinematography by Raoul Coutard

Many years ago, I was asked to write an essay on the film I would take with me into the future. I wrote that I would take Pierrot. Here’s why. 

Compositions #1-49*

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"Underneath everything I do is the fundamental fact that I’ve always feared and abhorred failure. Failure is so terribly painful to me that I’ve worked furiously and desperately my whole life to avoid it. As a result, I’ve been able to accomplish many things that I wouldn’t have achieved otherwise. So for me, everything was always hard, hard work — endlessly tearing up things and redoing them — doing countless versions of the same scene, over and over again. … So, I knew the benefits of hard work, but, still, the fear of failure motivated everything I’ve done in my life, and it came with a price — an awful lot of anxiety…but I’ve certainly been very fortunate to have worked on so many good pictures and with so many talented people — like Hitch and North by Northwest.”

— Ernest Lehman on writing and his fear of failure

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

Novels can—should—mirror the non-coherence of the world. Rarely do I relate when a writer utilizes narrative structure to force reconciliation. For me, truth cracks open in the places where things do not cohere. That’s how life is. Rupture and incoherence of parts, which stream into understanding. I guess my intention with the form—what I think the form can do—is stream what doesn’t fit into a frequency of some kind, not a plot of some kind.