25 Filmmaker Quotes

September 30, 2009 by Samantha Halfon · 25 Comments
Filed under: Arts, Cinephile 
  1. As filmmakers, we can show where a person’s mind goes, as opposed to theater, which is more to sit back and watch it. –Darren Aronofsky
  2. You see so many movies… the younger people who are coming from MTV or who are coming from commercials and there’s no sense of film grammar. There’s no real sense of how to tell a story visually. It’s just cut, cut, cut, cut, cut, you know, which is pretty easy. –Peter Bogdanovich
  3. Pick up a camera. Shoot something. No matter how small, no matter how cheesy, no matter whether your friends and your sister star in it. Put your name on it as director. Now you’re a director. Everything after that you’re just negotiating your budget and your fee. –James Cameron
  4. Most people don’t know what they want or feel. And for everyone, myself included, It’s very difficult to say what you mean when what you mean is painful. The most difficult thing in the world is to reveal yourself, to express what you have to… As an artist, I feel that we must try many things – but above all, we must dare to fail. You must have the courage to be bad – to be willing to risk everything to really express it all. –John Cassavetes
  5. Cassavetes

  6. The funniest thing is that all the things every director goes through, I thought I could shortcut, but there was no getting around those issues. –George Clooney
  7. I think cinema, movies, and magic have always been closely associated. The very earliest people who made film were magicians. –Francis Ford Coppola
  8. In the future, everybody is going to be a director. Somebody’s got to live a real life so we have something to make a movie about. –Cameron Crowe
  9. And I don’t think I’m giving away any secrets here, but there are a lot of terrible scripts in this town. –Frank Darabont
  10. The camera lies all the time; lies 24 times/second. –Brian De Palma
  11. My old drama coach used to say, ‘Don’t just do something, stand there.’ Gary Cooper wasn’t afraid to do nothing. –Clint Eastwood
  12. eastwood

  13. Anybody can direct a picture once they know the fundamentals. Directing is not a mystery, it’s not an art. The main thing about directing is: photograph the people’s eyes. –John Ford
  14. Movement should be a counter, whether in action scenes or dialogue or whatever. It counters where your eye is going. This style thing, for me it’s all fitted to the action, to the script, to the characters. –Samuel Fuller
  15. A story should have a beginning, a middle, and an end… but not necessarily in that order. –Jean-Luc Godard
  16. I’m a storyteller – that’s the chief function of a director. And they’re moving pictures, let’s make ‘em move! –Howard Hawks
  17. The directing of a picture involves coming out of your individual loneliness and taking a controlling part in putting together a small world. A picture is made. You put a frame around it and move on. And one day you die. That is all there is to it. –John Huston
  18. 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
  19. A lot of times you get credit for stuff in your movies you didn’t intend to be there. –Spike Lee
  20. For any director with a little lucidity, masterpieces are films that come to you by accident. –Sidney Lumet
  21. I studied English Literature. I wasn’t a very good student, but one thing I did get from it, while I was making films at the same time with the college film society, was that I started thinking about the narrative freedoms that authors had enjoyed for centuries and it seemed to me that filmmakers should enjoy those freedoms as well. –Christopher Nolan
  22. I mean, certainly writing, painting, photography, dance, architecture, there is an aspect of almost every art form that is useful and that merges into film in some way. –Sydney Pollack
  23. Cinema is a matter of what’s in the frame and what’s out. –Martin Scorsese
  24. Scorsese

  25. People have forgotten how to tell a story. Stories don’t have a middle or an end any more. They usually have a beginning that never stops beginning. –Steven Spielberg
  26. I steal from every movie ever made. –Quentin Tarantino
  27. I think it’s a very strange question that I have to defend myself. I don’t feel that. You are all my guests, it’s not the other way around, that’s how I feel. — Lars Von Trier
  28. If two men on a job agree all the time, then one is useless. If they disagree all the time, then both are useless. –Daryl F. Zanuck

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10 Alfred Hitchcock Quotes

August 20, 2009 by Derrick Faw · 5 Comments
Filed under: Cinephile 


  1. In feature films the director is God; in documentary films God is the director.
  2. Self-plagiarism is style.
  3. A lot of movies are about life, mine are like a slice of cake.
  4. There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it.
  5. What is drama but life with the dull bits cut out.
  6. If it’s a good movie, the sound could go off and the audience would still have a perfectly clear idea of what was going on.
  7. Actors are cattle.
  8. I never said all actors are cattle; what I said was all actors should be treated like cattle.
  9. A good film is when the price of the dinner, the theatre admission and the babysitter were worth it.
  10. Always make the audience suffer as much as possible.

Tataouine – Tatooine

August 16, 2009 by Derrick Faw · 2 Comments
Filed under: Cinephile, Photography 

Star Wars In AfricaStar Wars fans know well the planet of Tatooine, the boyhood home of Anakin and Luke  Skywalker. Recently we had an opportunity to visit Tunisia, and to my surprise we found the city of Tataouine. Many of the Tatooine scenes from Episode IV: A New Hope and Episode I: The Phantom Menace were shot on location in this region. One day we took an excursion in the areas surrounding Tatouine to what seemed to be a different planet in itself. Situated on the rim of the Sahara Dessert, it is a hot, dry, and barren place. For what it lacks in comfort, it makes up for in beauty and mystery. The terrain varies from sand dunes to picturesque landscapes typical of a John Ford western. If I had realized the potential of seeing Star Wars sites, perhaps I would have planned the trip a bit different. For information on how you could plan your own trip, check out Tunisia.com. Mark Weller, a filming location enthusiast, has put together a nice page on Star Wars in Tunisia.


The only actual location my tour included was the Ksar Hadada. It was once a fortified grainary used by the Berbers. George Lucas used it for some of the slave quarters scenes at Mos Espa in The Phantom Menace. Our tour guide was actually an extra during the shoots here.

Ksar Hadada

Mos Espa

Mos Espa Scene from The Phantom Menace

Photos taken August 2009

Ksar Hadada

Ksar Hadada

Aside from the Star Wars attractions the area is rich in scenery and history. The following are some more photos taken during the trip.

Amazing One Piece Dinning Room, Benches, Table carved out inside a mountain.

All Photos took with our Canon EOS series Camera

Let’s go to the movies

March 11, 2009 by Samantha Halfon · 6 Comments
Filed under: Cinephile 
Max Linder Panorama

Max Linder Panorama

I’ve talked before about my discovering of Cinema and the way I tried to see as many movies as I could and slowly shaped my taste and my understanding of Cinema History. Several people lent me VHS tapes of movies they liked, I also subscribed to a satellite tv offer for a couple of years and got my installation from the AAA Satellite installs Dish Network Nationwide and then watched probably 40% of the TCM France catalog of that period. I would also got to the theaters a lot. For several years, I would go to the theaters between once and three times a week.

Eventually, I had caught up with most of the movies I could afford to buy and went through all of the tapes in my friends collections. I was also a bit more demanding with the movies that came out and would not go to the movies to see yet another action film especially if it was going to be dubbed in French. Still, as soon as a movie by a director on my watch list would come out, I would rush to the theater.

Last year, we bought a projector and a screen that hangs proudly in our living room. We are frequent goers to the local public library where we can rent movies – for free. We subscribe to several VOD services and are rarely out of an old movie to watch (Anthony Mann, John Ford, Howard Hawks, Billy Wilder rank amongs our favorite). We watch between six and eight movies a week! Because I work late and going around in Paris is time consumming, we do not go to the theaters more than twice a month. I would love to go more as I strongly believe cinema should be enjoyed on the big screen, in a dedicated room, with an audience. Yet, the last few times we went, it has been a total disapointment.

About three weeks ago, we went to the theater in Nice. We went to the only theater in town that plays foreign films in their original language. The room was minuscule -and full. The screen was only barely bigger than the one we have at home (and believe me, our living room is not that big). Even worse, the copy was not all so clean. And the whole thing cost some 9.50 euros a person. But that was not so bad…

Last night, we went to the Grand Rex, right in the heart of Paris. The Grand Rex is a big concert Hall where I was lucky enough to see Joan Baez. The concert hall is beautiful with a wonderful accoustic. Sometimes, the concert hall is transformed into a theater. They pull down the biggest screen I’ve ever seen and this is where I saw the Departed with Martin Scorsese and Leonardo Di Caprio personally introducing the film. A ticket at the Grand Rex costs 10 euros even and when you see the size of that screen, you know it’s worth it. Yet, last night, for the Telerama Festival, the screening took place in a small room below the concert hall. The seats were old and unconfortable but that doesnt bother me (I’ve sat in screenings in Cannes on the floor because that’s all they had left). The walls were purple. Purple! Is this a theater? The screening was about 20 minutes late and as we waited they played the most horrible music I’ve heard lately. The worse thing was that they never turned off the emergency exits signs which were places way too close to the screen and would bright up the already not dark enough walls. For the first five minutes of the movie, that bright little green light was all I could see.

So, why do we go to the movies? I think theater managers should remember that a DVD costs about 15 euros (and sometimes we buy packs like 7 films for 42 euros), a low end projector costs 400 and a small screen is worth 110. If  am going to go to a movie, I expect a theatrical experience. I want film posters in the hall of the theater, I want complete darkness in the room, film soundtracks playing while we wait, a crystal clear copy, perfect sound and an audience that switches off their cell phones. If you can’t deliver, I will watch movies at home.

MK2 Bibliotheque, photo by Bert Kommerij (Flickr)

MK2 Bibliotheque, photo by Bert Kommerij (Flickr)

Little tips for Parisians

The greatest cinema in Paris is the French Cinemathque at rue de Bercy. The big room has a wonderful huge screen and of course they have an amazing program. It’s also extremly cheap. If you want to see a new release and that it plays at  Max Linder Panorama, that’s the place to go see it. It’s 10 euros a seat there too but when the film starts, you will know why. Of course, an event in the big room of the Grand Rex is a wonderful experience. Other than that, our theater is the MK2 Bibliotheque. The two big rooms (A and B) are fantastic. If I’m not going to the Max Linder, I will be going to a MK2. I refuse to enter a UGC theater since 2005. Another tip, if you want to reserve the whole cinema room and invite all your friends over, it’s possible at the Entrepot in Paris 14 district. And of course, Paris real treasure are the art and essais theaters like Grand Action, Action Ecole, Action Christine. If you have time to go see some classics over and over and wish to debate all night with hard core cinephiles, Paris is just the greatest place to be.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona

March 11, 2009 by Samantha Halfon · 2 Comments
Filed under: Cinephile 

Last night, we went to the “catch-up on the good movies you missed” screening of Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Every year, the Telerama Festival schedules the screening of the top 10 movies of the previous year in theaters throughout France. Tickets for these screenings cost 3 euros. It’s a great opportunity to catch up on a movie you might have missed when it first came out.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona by Woody Allen (2008)

Vicky Cristina Barcelona by Woody Allen (2008)

I have seen Match Point and loved it. I have seen Scoop and thought of it was the comedy remake of Match Point. I thought remaking one own’s film on a different mode was a wonderful idea but I felt Scoop never came close to Match Point as a movie. Anyway, I agreed with most critics I read that the change of location (from NYC to London) had been extremly beneficial to Woody Allen. He seems to have found there new characters that he could play with, new sets to inspire his shots and a totally new, younger cast to renew his work.

As the titles implies, his latest (to date) takes Vicky and Cristina to Barcelona and it looks like Spain was another great new playground for Woody.  He found two beautiful locations for the house of Vicky’s relatives and the house of artist Juan Antonio. Another sequence takes us to Oviedo with another series of beautiful shots. Since the movie took place in Spain, the cast now includes spanish speaking actors : Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz. It is very hard not to think of Almodovar who also used Bardem and Cruz and shares with Allen his taste for Spanish Guitar. I didn’t expect Woody Allen to succeed so well at portraying Spanish characters like he did with British characters but after seeing the movie I think it worked out even better.  It seems like filming in Spain allowed him to be more dramatic while remaining believable (what’s possible around the mediteranean see is not under the English gray sky). The constant switch of languages was source of comedy but also of more subtelty in the screenplay. ANd then of course, you get the colors of Spain…  Congratulations, Mr Allen. The movie was released on October 8, 2008 and on August 15, 2008 in America. I wonder how that one was left out of the nominees of this year Academy Awards?

Spotlight: Gary Cooper

January 5, 2009 by Derrick Faw · 3 Comments
Filed under: Cinephile 
Sergeant York (1941)

Sergeant York (1941)

This month TCM France (Turner Classic Movies) spotlights famed actor Frank James (Gary) Cooper. Each day will air a film from Cooper’s long and fruitful career. In nearly 40 years he played over 100 roles in some of Hollywood’s most memorable films. Though known for his dashing appearance, quite demeanor and restrained emotion, he was capable of powerful portrayals and a very unique sense of humor. He was born in 1901 in Helena, Montana, where he had a tough time making a living as a young man. After several failed attempts he would move to LA with his family in 1924, where he thought it was better to starve and be warm than to starve and freeze also. Eventually he would try his hand in the film industry and appeared as an extra in several films. Cooper, or Coop as his acquaintances called him, eventually broke through a major Hollywood star with The Virginian by Victor Fleming in 1929. Which coincidentally was his first talkie. Throughout the remainder of his career he would work with many of the great directors, such as: Frank Capra, Howard Hawks, Henry Hathaway, Cecil B. DeMille, William Wyler, Robert Aldrich, Otto Preminger, Billy Wilder, Delmer Daves, Fritz Lang, Raoul Walsh, Anthony Mann, Michael Curtiz, William Wellman, and John Ford to name a few. He would portray such real life characters as Lou Gehrig, Marco Polo, Wild Bill Hickok. Famed World War I hero Alvin York would only allow a film of his life’s story provided that he would be portrayed by Cooper in Howard Hawk’s Sergeant York. I look forward to seeing some Cooper films absent from our collection. As a general rule, when we get one of his films it is always pushed to the front of list on the shelf of movies to watch. Thanks TCM.

One Sunday Afternoon (1933)

One Sunday Afternoon (1933)


The Virginian (1939)


Meet John Doe (1941)


High Noon (1952)


Man Of The West (1958)

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