An image I shall never forget is that of Antonioni and Kurosawa accompanying him around the shrine—three of the cinema’s great masters laughing and chatting informally. Ray gave off an intense self-confidence without seeming in the slightest degree arrogant or complacent. Never sentimental, he probably agreed with the king in The Chess Players, who says that “nothing but poetry and music should bring tears to a man’s eyes.” While in Agra, he told Kurosawa about a huge tree in India that measured almost one mile in girth. Much later, Kurosawa wrote to him, reminding him of that incident and saying, “I have always felt from the first time I met you that you are the kind of man who is like a huge tree. A great tree in the woods in India.”
-Peter Cowie on Satyajit Ray
A.V. Club: What can cinema do to an idea?
David Lynch: Cinema is a medium that can translate ideas. But wood can translate ideas, too. You have wood and then you get a chair. Some ideas are for different things.
AVC: Does that translation draw out parallels between different ideas that you weren’t aware of when you started?
DL: For sure. I wasn’t aware of anything. Then, suddenly, you’re aware. It’s like somebody giving you a puzzle piece without any kind of frame—you get a puzzle piece and then a few more. It doesn’t help you much, but you love the little pieces. You don’t know if they relate. In this process, hopefully, a feature film script will emerge. And then, one day, you’re surprised by how it all comes together.
You once said that where a person lives tends to affect them. Los Angeles is a very particular, peculiar environment. What is it about this city that appeals to you?
Number one, the intense light. Also the different feelings in the air. But like every place it’s always changing. And it takes longer to appreciate L.A. than a lot of cities, because it’s so spread out, and every area has its own mood. What I really like about it is, from time to time, if you drive around – especially at night – you can get a little gust of wind of the great days of the silver screen. All there in, like, living memory. It just makes you wish that you’d lived in those times. I think that if you could go back, that’s the one place that you want to go back to. Maybe they didn’t appreciate it at the time, but it was an incredible place to be at the beginning of cinema. – David Lynch
"More than most pictures of the era, the movie captures the grubbiness and claustrophobia of a passenger train. People drift up and down the corridors, nosing around in things that are none of their business and harassing the overworked porters and conductor. The train speeds up, slows down, picks the worst moments to lurch around and knock everyone off balance. The set was stationary in order to save money, but director Richard Fleischer and cinematographer George E. Diskant made a virtue of that by using camera to suggest the train’s movement. They used a lot of hand-held work that gives an added feeling of reality. Scenes are lit in a natural-looking way, including a nice sequence at a rather seedy station, shot entirely in bright daylight. There’s no soundtrack either, just the whistles and rattles of the train."
Farran Smith Nehme, Self-Styled Siren
Alternative Candidate Rating: Cheap, flashy, and strictly poison under the gravy.
She [Delphine Seyrig] never made coffee in her life. I had to teach her to do this, and when we talk about how to make the veal and things like that. It was what I saw when I was a kid. My aunts and the aunts of my mother. The gestures of the women around when you are a child. What else are you looking at? What they do, the women. Usually, the man isn’t there. The man is working. And you have the woman, if it was a mother, or maid, or aunt, someone taking care of you as a child, 99 percent of the time it’s a woman. And you do things all the time. As a child, it is something you look at. So it’s really a film that was inscribed in me from my childhood.