chaplin

 

Andrei Tarkovsky
"And is Chaplin—comedy? No: he is Chaplin, pure and simple; a unique phenomenon, never to be repeated. He is unadulterated hyperbole; but above all he stuns us at every moment of his screen existence with the truth of his hero’s behavior. In the most absurd situation Chaplin is completely natural; and that is why he is funny."
 
Buster Keaton
"At his best, and Chaplin remained at his best for a long time, he was the greatest comedian that ever lived."
 
François Truffaut
"My religion is cinema. I believe in Charlie Chaplin…"
 
Jean-Luc Godard
"He is beyond praise because he is the greatest of all. What else can one say? The only filmmaker, anyway, to whom one can apply without misunderstanding that very misleading adjective, ‘humane’… Today one says Chaplin as one says Da Vinci—or rather Charlie, like Leonardo."
 
Jean Renoir
"The master of masters, the filmmaker of filmmakers, for me is still Charlie Chaplin. He has done everything in his films—script, direction, setting, production, performance and even the music… His films are not only examples of perfect unity, but all his work is one. One may say indeed of Chaplin that he has made only one film and that every facet of that film is a different enactment of the same profession of faith."
 
Jiri Menzel
"All Chaplin’s early films assured me that the comedy can say in a grotesque way much more about people’s characters than serious films, which after a certain time fade away and became ridiculous. Good comedy is immortal."
 
Luis Buñuel
"When I was young, the idea of an orgy was tremendously exciting. Charlie Chaplin once organized one in Hollywood for me and two Spanish friends, but when the three ravishing young women arrived from Pasadena, they immediately got into a tremendous argument over which one was going to get Chaplin, and in the end all three left in a huff."
 
Masaki Kobayashi
"Last year I went to the Cannes Film Festival and met Charles Chaplin. They showed his works. I was deeply impressed by his greatness. His films, his methods and content, are modern and so contemporary; he is a great genius."
 
Ousmane Sembène
"[Did other filmmakers teach you anything?] There was one, an old man whom I had the fortune to meet very old, Charlie Chaplin; he told me that everyone could do this job, but that it is very demanding… He was the only guy who you couldn’t see in bars, nightclubs, or at receptions. He told me one had to stay at home and work…”
 
Pier Paolo Pasolini
"You can always feel underneath my love for Dreyer, Mizoguchi and Chaplin… I feel this mythic epicness in both Dreyer and Mizoguchi and Chaplin: all three see things from a point of view which is absolute, essential and in a certain way holy, reverential."
 
Satyajit Ray
"If there is any name which can be said to symbolize cinema—it is Charlie Chaplin… I am sure Chaplin’s name will survive even if the cinema ceases to exist as a medium of artistic expression. Chaplin is truly immortal."
 
Stanley Kubrick
"If something is really happening on the screen, it isn’t crucial how it’s shot. Chaplin had such a simple cinematic style that it was almost like I Love Lucy, but you were always hypnotized by what was going on, unaware of the essentially non-cinematic style. He frequently used cheap sets, routine lighting and so forth, but he made great films. His films will probably last longer than anyone else’s.”
 
Vittorio De Sica
"Truly good films—like Chaplin’s—should stimulate as well as soothe, should appeal to the mind as well as to the senses, should kindle thought as well as the emotions."

Luis Buñuel | My Last Sigh

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Censorship in Spain was, at the time, notorious for its petty formality, and since Viridiana’s original ending showed her knocking at her cousin’s door, entering, and the door closing slowly behind her, the board of censors rejected it out of hand. I had to invent a new one, which in the end was far more suggestive than the first because of its implications of a ménage à trois. In this second ending, Viridiana joins a card game being played between her cousin and his mistress. “I knew you’d end up playing tute with us," the cousin smiles.
 
In any case, the film created a considerable scandal in Spain, much like the one provoked by L’Age d’or; but, happily, the hue and cry absolved me in the eyes of my Republican friends in Mexico. Hostile articles appeared in L’Osservatore Romano, and although the film won the Golden Palm at Cannes, it was outlawed in Spain. The head of the cinema institute in Madrid, who’d gone to Cannes to accept the award, was forced into a premature retirement because of it. Finally, the affair created such a storm that Franco himself asked to see it, and according to what the Spanish producers told me, he found nothing very objectionable about it. After all, given what he’d seen in his lifetime, it must have seemed incredibly innocent to him, but he nonetheless refused to overturn his minister’s decision.
 
In Italy, the film opened first in Rome, where it was well received, and then in Milan, where the public prosecutor immediately closed the theatre, impounded the reels, and sued me in court, where I was condemned to a year in jail if I so much as set foot in the country.
 
The whole affair still amazes me. I remember when [Producer Gustavo] Alatriste saw the film for the first time and had nothing to say about it. He saw it again in Paris, then twice in Cannes, and again in Mexico City, after which he rushed up to me, his face wreathed in smiles.
 
"Luis!" he cried happily. “You’ve done it! It’s wonderful! Now I understand it all!"
 
I had, and still have, no idea what he was talking about. It all seemed so simple to me—what was there to understand?
 
On the other hand, when [Vittorio] de Sica saw it in Mexico City, he walked out horrified and depressed. Afterwards, he and my wife, Jeanne, went to have a drink, and he asked her if I was really that monstrous, and if I beat her when we made love.
 
"When there’s a spider that needs getting rid of," she replied, laughing, “he comes looking for me."

lunch in honor of Luis Buñuel

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On November 20th, 1972, George Cukor hosted a lunch in honor of Luis Buñuel. Attendees included Robert Mulligan, William Wyler, Robert Wise, Jean-Claude Carriere, Serge Silberman, Billy Wilder, George Stevens, Alfred Hitchcock, Rouben Mamoulian, John Ford, and Rafael Buñuel.

FILMMAKERS ON JEAN-LUC GODARD

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Chantal Akerman: You can see him excluding himself from the world in an almost autistic manner. For people like me, who started doing film because of him, it is a terrible fright. And the fact that the long evolution that Godard has been through can lead to this, almost brings me to despair. He was kind of a pioneer, an inventor who didn’t care much about anybody or anything. And that a man at this stage of his life isolates himself, should also be a lesson for us other film makers.
 
Woody Allen: I think he’s a brilliant innovator. I don’t always love every film he’s made. I think he’s very inventive, but sometimes his inventions are taken by other people and used better. But he’s certainly one of the innovators of cinema.
 
Paul Thomas Anderson: I love Godard in a very film school way. I can’t say that I’ve ever been emotionally attacked by him. Where I have been emotionally attacked by Truffaut.
 
Michelangelo Antonioni: Godard flings reality in our faces, and I’m struck by this. But never by Truffaut.
 
Ingmar Bergman: I’ve never been able to appreciate any of his films, nor even understand them. Truffaut and I used to meet on several occasions at film festivals. We had an instant understanding that extended to his films. But Godard: I find his films affected, intellectual, self-obsessed and, as cinema, without interest and frankly dull. Endless and tiresome. Godard is a desperate bore. I’ve always thought that he made films for critics. He made one here in Sweden, Masculin Féminin, so boring that my hair stood on end.
 
Luis Buñuel: I’ll give him two years more, he is just a fashion.
 
Jean-Luc Godard: I am not an auteur, well, not now anyway. We once believed we were auteurs but we weren’t. We had no idea, really. Film is over. It’s sad nobody is really exploring it. But what to do? And anyway, with mobile phones and everything, everyone is now an auteur.
 
Werner Herzog: Someone like Jean-Luc Godard is for me intellectual counterfeit money when compared to a good kung fu film.
 
Fritz Lang: I like him a great deal: he is very honest, he loves the cinema, he is just as fanatical as I was. In fact, I think he tries to continue what we started one day, the day when we began making our first films. Only his approach is different. Not the spirit.

Roman Polanski: In fact the worst thing possible is to be absolutely certain about things. Hitler, for example, must have been convinced in the certainty of his ideas and that he was right. I don’t think he did anything without believing in it, otherwise he wouldn’t have done it to start with. And I think Jean-Luc Godard believes he makes good films, but maybe they aren’t that good.
 
Satyajit Ray: Godard especially opened up new ways of… making points, let us say. And he shook the foundations of film grammar in a very healthy sort of way, which is excellent.
 
Quentin Tarantino: To me, Godard did to movies what Bob Dylan did to music: they both revolutionized their forms.
 
François Truffaut: You’re nothing but a piece of shit on a pedestal. […] You fostered the myth, you accentuated that side of you that was mysterious, inaccessible and temperamental, all for the slavish admiration of those around you. You need to play a role and the role needs to be a prestigious one; I’ve always had the impression that real militants are like cleaning women, doing a thankless, daily but necessary job. But you, you’re the Ursula Andress of militancy, you make a brief appearance, just enough time for the cameras to flash, you make two or three duly startling remarks and then you disappear again, trailing clouds of self-serving mystery.
 
Orson Welles: He’s the definitive influence if not really the first film artist of this last decade, and his gifts as a director are enormous. I just can’t take him very seriously as a thinker—and that’s where we seem to differ, because he does. His message is what he cares about these days, and, like most movie messages, it could be written on the head of a pin. But what’s so admirable about him is his marvelous contempt for the machinery of movies and even movies themselves—a kind of anarchistic, nihilistic contempt for the medium—which, when he’s at his best and most vigorous, is very exciting.
 
Wim Wenders: For me, discovering cinema was directly connected to his films. I was living in Paris at the time. When Made in USA opened, I went to the first show—it was around noon—and I sat there until midnight. I saw it six times in a row.