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Quotes on Directing
Quotes on Screenwriting
  and Writing in General

Quotes on Creativity and Inspiration
Quotes on Film Directing from Euroscreenwriters

hitchcock / jean renoir / wong kar-wai / kieslowski / robert bresson / bergman / greenaway / herzog / godard / rohmer / leconte / truffaut /

Wong Kar-wai:
The best approach is to let the film make itself, to let it grow organically, day by day. To find the rhythm of the director. To match a script to its space. To gain the confidence of the actors. To regulate the mood (good or bad) of the cast and crew.

It's not that easy. We all have habits and tastes and references that get in the way. It takes the same energy, the same time and money to make a great film as it does to make a piece of shit!

The big difference is in the level of communication and the amount of trust you share. What we make of our time together is what the film ultimately becomes."

Christopher Doyle:
The clouds moving across the road in random patterns, the traffic, what's going on by the roadside - all affect the shot. So you have to think just a little ahead, beyond your mundane self. Why fall back on old habits and other people's ways? Why not trust your eyes and intuition? Why not use taste instead of training? Try to find what best expresses what's going on, what's exciting to your eye. What you end up with may not be "new", it may not be brilliant, but at least you can say it's you.

If only film was jazz, if only we could "jam"...We get closer to this with each film; my camera becomes more and more of a musical instrument. On and off, different film speeds, frame changes in shot...these are my key and register shifts. I riff, you solo, we jam towards a free form that we believe a film can be.

A film director is not a creator, but a midwife. His business is to deliver the actor of a child that he did not know he had inside him.
Jean Renoir

All technical refinements discourage me. Perfect photography, larger screens, hi-fi sound, all make it possible for mediocrities slavishly to reproduce nature; and this reproduction bores me. What interests me is the interpretation of life by an artist. The personality of the film maker interests me more than the copy of an object.
Jean Renoir

For me, the cinema is not a slice of life, but a piece of cake.
Alfred Hitchcock

I have often thought it was very arrogant to suppose you could make a film for anybody but yourself.
Peter Greenaway

We all steal, but if we're smart we steal from great directors. Then, we can call it influence.
Krzysztof Kieslowski

We live in a society that has no adequate images anymore, and if we do not find adequate images and an adequate language for our civilization with which to express them, we will die out like the dinosaurs.
Werner Herzog

The length of a film should be directly related to the endurance of the human bladder.
Alfred Hitchcock

A good film is also a documentary
Eric Rohmer

Love stories that are too simple don't deserve to have films made about them.
Patrice Leconte

Film as dream, film as music. No art passes our conscience in the way film does, and goes directly to our feelings, deep down into the dark rooms of our souls.
Ingmar Bergman

Film lovers are sick people
Francois Truffaut

Make visible what, without you, might never have been seen.
Robert Bresson

The things one can express with the hand, with the head, with the shoulders!... How many useless and encumbering words then disappear! What economy!
Robert Bresson

All you need to make a movie is a girl and a gun.
Jean-Luc Godard

All you need to make a movie is a girl and a gun.
Jean-Luc Godard

A director makes only one movie in his life. Then he breaks it into pieces and makes it again.
Jean Renoir

Movies which set out to be 'commercial' usually have an artificial look about them-a certain waxlike quality. They allow for no failure, no moment of mistake.
Nicholas Roeg

There is no formula for success. But there is a formula for failure and that is to try to please everybody.
Nicholas Ray

Collaboration is like the sex of creativity.
Francis Ford Coppola

I didn't throw myself off my balcony only because I knew people would photograph me lying dead.
Brigitte Bardot on the pressures of her fame

A team effort is a lot of people doing what I say.
Michael Winner

Now I absolutely despise the murderer Werner Herzog. I tell him to his face that I want to see him perish like the llama he executed. He should be thrown to the crocodiles alive! An anaconda should throttle him slowly! The sting of a deadly spider should paralyze him! His brain should burst from the bite of the most poisonous of all snakes! Panthers shouldn't slit his throat open with their claws, that would be too good for him! No. Big red ants should piss in his eyes, eat his balls, penetrate his asshole, and eat his guts! He should get the plague! Syphilis! Malaria! Yellow fever! Leprosy! In vain. The more I wish the most horrible of deaths on him and treat him like the scum of the earth that he is, the less I can get rid of him!
Klaus Kinski - On The Importance Of Maintaining A Good Actor/Director Relationship:

A film is never really good unless the camera is an eye in the head of a poet.
Orson Welles

Cinema is a matter of what's in the frame and what's out
Martin Scorsese

Keep it out of focus - I want to win the foreign picture award.
Billy Wilder to his cinematographer shooting 'Sunset Boulevard'

Råfilm er ueksponeret film. Råfilmen ligger i sti sorte papir indeni metaldåsen. Fotografassistenten sætter sig stille i et hjørne med sin sorte skiftepose og putter magasinet med den eksponerede rulle, samt en tom dåse, ned i posen. Han sidder og ser fremad uden at se noget og har hænderne beskæftiget i posen. Han tager dåsen med den eksponerede film ud. Han forsegler den med tape. Han lægger den nye film i. Magasinet kommer ud og bliver sat på kameraet. Fotografen er klar til eksponere noget mere film. Det vil sige udsætte råfilmen for lyspåvirkning. Virkeligheden vil indprente sig på en friske rulle. Menneskers bevægelse, rummets slørede og skarpe indhold skrives ind på filmen. Råfilmen forvandles til et eksponeret negativ. Råfilm er noget meget konkret og noget magisk. Alt håb kan knytte sig til råfilmen. Den har alle muligheder foran sig. Den ubrugte film rummer fantasien om hemmelighedsfulde signaler, ukendte betydninger. Råfilmen hviler i sin emballage, ubesmittet af manuskript, iscenesættelse, beregning og ivrighed.
Jørgen Leth

Pain is temporary.
Film is eternal."
Pi website

The words `Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,' which I saw on an Italian movie poster, are perhaps the briefest statement imaginable on the basic appeal of movies.
Pauline Kael

Working in film is like making love to a gorilla. You don't stop when you want to stop; you stop when the gorilla wants to stop.
David Janssen

Everyone criticizes the movies. Yet everyone seems to continue to go to them.
James M. Gillis

Pictures are for entertainment, messages should be delivered by Western Union.
Samuel Goldwyn

Nobody makes a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little.
Edmund Burke

Life begets life. Energy creates energy. It is by spending ourself that one becomes rich.
Sarah Bernhardt

To bring a film to the screen is to wrestle with monsters dressed as clowns.
David Thomson

There are directors who desire to be artistic. It is pathetic to compare the seriousness of their aim with the absurdity of their attainment.
W. Somerset Maugham

If Hitler's still alive, I hope he's out of town with a musical.
Larry Gelbart

I'm not a movie person. They're collaborations of the worst kind. You must compromise yourself to many interests that are venal and crass and do not have your best interests at heart.
John Irving

Television--a medium. So called because it is neither rare nor well done.
Fred Allen

That's the trouble with directors--always biting the hand that lays the golden egg.
Sam Goldwyn

The director is the most overrated artist in the world. He is the only artist who, with no talent whatsoever, can be a success for 50 years without his lack of talent ever being discovered.
Orson Welles

Has anybody ever seen a dramatic critic in the daytime? Of course not. They come out after dark, up to no good.
P. G. Wodehouse

I have just read your lousy review. You sound like a frustrated old man who never made a success, an eight ulcer man on a four ulcer job...I have never met you but if I do, you'll need a new nose, a lot of beefsteak for black eyes, and a supporter below.
Harry S. Truman
(to critic Paul Hume after his unflattering review of daughter Margaret's singing recital)

Coughing in the theater is not a respiratory ailment. It is a criticism.
Alan Jay Lerner

Imitation is the sincerest form of television.
Fred Allen