Director Quotes Relay

David from Taste of Cinema started a relay race we share some of our favorite quotes from filmmakers. Stephanie, from On Page and Screen has passed it on to me. This was definitely tough! My comments will follow in green. Here it goes..

Here's David's explanation of the relay race: People love wisdom from great minds. As a cinephile, I prefer director quotes more than words from any other group of people in the world. Their thoughts on cinema not only provide insights into a deep understanding of cinema, but also open the window to their own films, their genres, and their filmmaking methods, thus the need to receive more exposure as their films did.

The rules have been altered, but basically the one rule is simple: Replace one director and their respective quote with one of your own.

Here’s who's participated in the Relay Race so far:David at Taste Of Cinema
Chris at Movies And Songs 365
Alex at And So It Begins...
Josh from The Cinematic Spectacle
Stephanie at On Page and Screen

“I steal from every single movie ever made. I love it – if my work has anything it’s that I’m taking this from this and that from that and mixing them together. If people don’t like that, then tough titty, don’t go and see it, all right? I steal from everything. Great artists steal; they don’t do homages.” – Quentin Tarantino

“Unlike all the other art forms, film is able to seize and render the passage of time, to stop it, almost to possess it in infinity. I’d say that film is the sculpting of time.” – Andrei Tarkovsky.

“Why make a movie about something one understands completely? I make movies about things I do not understand, but wish to.” – Seijun Suzuki

“An essential element of any art is risk. If you don’t take a risk then how are you going to make something really beautiful, that hasn’t been seen before?” – Francis Ford Coppola

“I don’t like the idea of ‘understanding’ a film. I don’t believe that rational understanding is an essential element in the reception of any work of art. Either a film has something to say to you or it hasn’t. If you are moved by it, you don’t need it explained to you. If not, no explanation can make you moved by it.” – Federico Fellini

“When I make a film, I never stop uncovering mysteries, making discoveries. When I’m writing, filming, editing, even doing promotional work, I discover new things about the film, about myself, and about others. That is what I’m subconsciously looking for when shooting a film: to glimpse the enigmas of life, even if I don’t resolve them, but at least to uncover them. Cinema is curiosity in the most intense meaning of the word.” – Pedro Almodovar

“All my movies are about strange worlds that you can't go into unless you build them and film them. That's what's so important about film to me. I just like going into strange worlds.” - David Lynch

“Either I did away with that fear through writing, or in the course of writing, I discovered it was no longer so intrusive or threatening. The bottom line is, it’s gone.” – Ingmar Bergman

"You make films to give people something, to transport them somewhere else, and it doesn't matter if you transport them to a world of intuition or a world of intellect...The realm of superstitions, fortune-telling, presentiments, intuition, dreams, all this is the inner life of a human being, and all this is the hardest thing to film...I've been trying to get there from the beginning. I'm somebody who doesn't know, somebody who's searching." – Krzysztof Kieslowski

I wonder whether my bleak-o-meter is set differently from other people's. I have such passion for what I do that I can't see it as bleak. When people use that word, or "grim" or "gritty," I just think, "Oh, come on, look a bit deeper." My films don't give you an easy ride. I can see that. The sense I get is that people have quite a physical experience with them. They feel afterwards that they've really been through something. -- Andrea Arnold

I remove: “A film is – or should be – more like music than like fiction. It should be a progression of moods and feelings. The theme, what’s behind the emotion, the meaning, all that comes later.” – Stanley Kubrick
All of the quotes on this list are fantastic, and it's hard to pick one to let go, but I'll go with Kubrick. I don't disagree with what he is saying here, but this quote made me think of Terrance Malik's Tree of Life. That film felt a lot like a progession of moods and feelings, but it never came together.

I'm adding: "Truth is hard to tell! And you have to be willing to be criticized for it." - Lee Daniels
I actually had a Christopher Nolan quote in here originally, then I thought to myself "Of course you'd pick Chris Nolan." So I deleted it. Then I came across this. It's short and sweet, yet to me it says so much. I have a ton of respect for Lee Daniels as a director because he tells it like it is, even if it isn't pretty, and he doesn't apologise for it. Precious, for example does not sound like a movie that you'd want to sit through if you just read the synopsis. But Precious moved me to tears, it was so powerful.
I am passing this to John Gilpatrick of John Likes Movies


  1. I love this quote, and I'm not even a fan of Lee Daniels's work. Still, I agree: it says a lot with few words. Nice choice.

  2. Great quote,Burnham.I love directors who can face the truth and shoot it without any "decorations",truth,is always the most powerful thing that can move an audience.

  3. I really liked Precious too -- I thought it was a powerful movie, for a lot of reasons. And this is a great quote. Simple, yet it speaks volumes.

  4. Really interesting swap there. Kubrick is one of my favorite all time directors, but I do think he has said more profund things.

    Precious caused a very similar reaction from me as it did from you. I love that film, and I love Daniels' quote. Nice work!


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