0

20 Brilliant Filmmakers on Why They Make Movies

A couple of weeks back, we combed through our favorite quotes and offered up a few words from some of our favorite musicians about why they do what they do. That post was so well liked that we decided to seek out similar thoughts from some of our favorite moviemakers, to find out what drives them, what motivates them, and what pushes them to create. The best are collected after the jump; feel free to add your own in the comments.

Martin Scorsese

“I have a desire to tell stories. And I’m never quite satisfied.”

“Movies touch our hearts and awaken our vision, and change the way we see things. They take us to other places, they open doors and minds. Movies are the memories of our lifetime, we need to keep them alive.”

“Basically, you make another movie, and another, and hopefully you feel good about every picture you make. And you say, ‘My name is on that. I did that. It’s OK.’ But don’t get me wrong, I still get excited by it all. That, I hope, will never disappear.”

[via, via, via]

Steven Soderbergh

“I think it’s a real privilege to make a living doing this job. It’s a great job — the best I can think of, actually. You walk into a room and say, ‘I’m imagining this,’ and they give you millions of dollars to go out and make it real. That’s a pretty good gig. I have certain standards — sometimes I hit them and sometimes I don’t. I don’t think being precious is really good for any art form. So I believe in being really prepared, working hard, doing everything I can think of to improve it, but staying on budget, staying on schedule, and when it’s over, it’s over and I’m onto the next thing. I’m really dispassionate about it, in that regard. I haven’t seen a great benefit in my own work in agonizing over things. I’ve seen more of a benefit in my work, for moving quickly. It’s harder to be pretentious when you’re moving really fast.”

“Well, I think a part of you has to be scared, it keeps you alert; otherwise you become complacent. So absolutely, I’m purposefully going after things and doing things that I’m not sure if it’s going to come off or not. Certainly Full Frontal was one of those. That was pure experimentation, that’s the kind of film that you make going in where you know that a lot of people are not going to like it because it’s an exploration of the contract that exists between the filmmaker and the audience and what happens when you violate that contract.”

[via, via]

Spike Lee

“You gotta make your own way. You gotta find a way. You gotta get it done. It’s hard. It’s tough. That’s what I tell my students every day in class. I’ve been very fortunate. Some people might call me a hardhead, but I’m not going to let other people dictate to me who I should be or the stories I should tell. That doesn’t register with me.”

“I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to express the views of black people who otherwise don’t have access to power and the media. I have to take advantage of that while I’m still bankable.”

[via, via]

Quentin Tarantino

“Movies are my religion and God is my patron. I’m lucky enough to be in the position where I don’t make movies to pay for my pool. When I make a movie, I want it to be everything to me; like I would die for it.”

“When you gotta go out and make a movie to pay for the kid’s private school and for the three ex-wives, don’t talk to me about your artistry. It’s their job. It’s not my job. It’s my calling.”

“I’m never going to be shy about anything, what I write about is what I know; it’s more about my version of the truth as I know it. That’s part of my talent, really — putting the way people really speak into the things I write. My only obligation is to my characters. And they came from where I have been.”

[via, via, via]

Steven Spielberg

“The most expensive habit in the world is celluloid, not heroin, and I need a fix every two years.”

“I dream for a living. Once a month the sky falls on my head, I come to, and I see another movie I want to make. Sometimes I think I’ve got ball bearings for brains; these ideas are slipping and sliding across each other all the time. My problem is that my imagination won’t turn off. I wake up so excited I can’t eat breakfast. I’ve never run out of energy. It’s not like OPEC oil; I don’t worry about a premium going on my energy. It’s just always been there.”

“The older I get, the more I look at movies as a moving miracle. Audiences are harder to please if you’re just giving them special effects, but they’re easy to please if it’s a good story. The audience is also the toughest critic — a good story that exists in your world may not be the first choice for an audience. So I just do the best I can.”

[via, via, via]

Kathryn Bigelow

“I always want to make films. I think of it as a great opportunity to comment on the world in which we live. Perhaps just because I just came off The Hurt Locker and I’m thinking of the war and I think it’s a deplorable situation. It’s a great medium in which to speak about that. This is a war that cannot be won, why are we sending troops over there? Well, the only medium I have, the only opportunity I have, is to use film. There will always be issues I care about.”

“If there’s specific resistance to women making movies, I just choose to ignore that as an obstacle for two reasons: I can’t change my gender, and I refuse to stop making movies. It’s irrelevant who or what directed a movie, the important thing is that you either respond to it or you don’t. There should be more women directing; I think there’s just not the awareness that it’s really possible. It is.”

[via, via]

Wong Kar-Wai

“Cinema has certain qualities, and it’s the image. Sometimes this image has its own breathing or tempo. It has to linger, and will linger because you want to have more. It is very instinctive. It is very instinctive when you’re shooting the shots in front of this video, the monitor, you know exactly, because sometimes it takes you more than 10 takes or 15 takes… Afterwards, the most enjoyable part is the final weeks. That means you put everything together, the sound, the images and everything to create a film… it’s beyond words… I think one of the reasons you keep making films is because you want to experience that part again and again.”

[via]

Agnes Varda

“I don’t believe in inspiration that arrives like a bolt from the blue — if it doesn’t also arise from your body and your immediate lived experience. That’s why I always refer to ‘subjective documentary’. It seems to me that the more motivated I am by what I film, the more objectively I film.”

[via]

Joel Coen

“I can almost set my watch by how I’m going to feel at different stages of the process. It’s always identical, whether the movie ends up working or not. I think when you watch the dailies, the film that you shoot every day, you’re very excited by it and very optimistic about how it’s going to work. And when you see it the first time you put the film together, the roughest cut, is when you want to go home and open up your veins and get in a warm tub and just go away. And then it gradually, maybe, works its way back, somewhere toward that spot you were at before.”

[via]

David Cronenberg

“As filmmaker, I ask questions but don’t have answers. Moviemaking is a philosophical exploration. I invite the audience to come on the journey and discover what they think and feel.”

“I have no rules. For me, it’s a full, full experience to make a movie. It takes a lot of time, and I want there to be a lot of stuff in it. You’re looking for every shot in the movie to have resonance and want it to be something you can see a second time, and then I’d like it to be something you can see 10 years later, and it becomes a different movie, because you’re a different person. So that means I want it to be deep, not in a pretentious way, but I guess I can say I am pretentious in that I pretend. I have aspirations that the movie should trigger off a lot of complex responses.”

[via, via]

Pedro Almodovar

“Cinema has become my life. I don’t mean a parallel world, I mean my life itself. I sometimes have the impression that the daily reality is simply there to provide material for my next film.”

“My first ambition was to be a writer. I have always been very interested in writing. But it seems to me that I have more capacity for telling a story with images. It seems I have more talent for filmmaking than for writing a novel, which is my dream. I have always found it easy to let my imagination go. You do not just need imagination for filmmaking, you also need a lot of passion. When I discovered filmmaking as a way of telling stories, I felt that I had found something that was in my nature. I am glad that I had this ambition to be a novelist because it has helped me in filmmaking.”

[via, via]

Ang Lee

“Everywhere can be home and everywhere is not really home and you have to deal with loneliness and alienation. I’m old enough to realize that eventually you have to deal with loneliness, anyway. I’m happily married, I love my children, but eventually you have to deal with yourself. I trust the elusive world created by movies more than anything else. I’m very happy when I’m making a movie.”

[via]

Sofia Coppola

“When you direct is the only time you get to have the world exactly how you want it. My movies are very close to what I set out to do. And I’m super-opinionated about what I do and don’t like. I may say it differently, but I still get what I want.”

“I would like to see it. That’s the way I work: I try to imagine what I would like to see.”

[via]

Takashi Miike

“I became a director because I didn’t have another choice. I dreamed of becoming a motorbike racer because I love motorbikes a lot. I think anyone can become a director, especially if you have money… If there is a 1 – 10 scale for talent, then a 10 point talent is a director, but a 1 point person can also become a director if he has the talent to make the right contacts. In motorbike racing on the other hand the winner is always an extreme talent. Even if we train a lot we can’t beat them. I admire that kind of world. But I didn’t have a choice. I never thought about becoming a director before. I considered the occupation of film director as being for the intelligentsia.”

“I don’t make rules myself. I didn’t study enough to be able to make them. I’m too stupid. I spend my whole life making movies, so I have to enjoy it. Even at times when we had a very tight and difficult schedule, it was always enjoyable. Of course I wonder if the film will be successful afterwards. It’s wonderful if a film becomes successful as a result of the enjoyment that we had.”

[via]

Wes Anderson

“I want to try not to repeat myself. But then I seem to do it continuously in my films. It’s not something I make any effort to do. I just want to make films that are personal, but interesting to an audience. I feel I get criticized for style over substance, and for details that get in the way of the characters. But every decision I make is how to bring those characters forward.”

[via]

Gus Van Sant

“We’re used to making films and observing films with a sort of shorthand. You see the car going down the road. OK. Got it. Then it’s the next shot. Usually what happens then is people start talking about something that will relate to the story instead of something random and more lifelike, like dental work. We learn in English class not to have it be about dental work. But maybe watching the car going down the road is important. To really watch it — as if you were in the car.”

[via]

Werner Herzog

“It is not only my dreams, my belief is that all these dreams are yours as well. The only distinction between me and you is that I can articulate them. And that is what poetry or painting or literature or film making is all about… it’s as simple as that. I make films because I have not learned anything else and I know I can do it to a certain degree. And it is my duty because this might be the inner chronicle of what we are. We have to articulate ourselves, otherwise we would be cows in the field.

“Perhaps I seek certain utopian things, space for human honor and respect, landscapes not yet offended, planets that do not exist yet, dreamed landscapes. Very few people seek these images today.”

[via]

Christopher Nolan

“Films are subjective — what you like, what you don’t like. But the thing for me that is absolutely unifying is the idea that every time I go to the cinema and pay my money and sit down and watch a film go up on-screen, I want to feel that the people who made that film think it’s the best movie in the world, that they poured everything into it and they really love it. Whether or not I agree with what they’ve done, I want that effort there — I want that sincerity. And when you don’t feel it, that’s the only time I feel like I’m wasting my time at the movies.”

[via]

Catherine Breillat

“I know why I make films — partly because I want to describe female shame — but beyond that, cinema is a mode of expression that allows you to express all the nuances of a thing while including its opposites. These are things that can’t be quantified mentally; yet they can exist and be juxtaposed. That may seem very contradictory. Cinema allows you to film these contradictions.”

[via]

David Lynch

“I’m convinced we all are voyeurs. It’s part of the detective thing. We want to know secrets and we want to know what goes on behind those windows. And not in a way that we would use to hurt anyone. There’s an entertainment value to it, but at the same time we want to know: What do humans do? Do they do the same things as I do? It’s a gaining of some sort of knowledge, I think.”

“People say my films are dark. But like lightness, darkness stems from a reflection of the world. The thing is, I get these ideas that I truly fall in love with. And a good movie idea is often like a girl you’re in love with, but you know she’s not the kind of girl you bring home to your parents, because they sometimes hold some dark and troubling things.”

“I like to make films because I like to go into another world. I like to get lost in another world. And film to me is a magical medium that makes you dream…allows you to dream in the dark. It’s just a fantastic thing, to get lost inside the world of film.”

[via, via, via]

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 8,500 other followers