Sven Nykvist

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If I have a good lens and a camera that is steady, that’s enough. I’m not crazy about the new toys that come up each year. I like simplicity. It’s taken me 30 years to come up with simplicity. So I don’t use diffusion filters or colour filters on the lens. I use colour filters on the lights, because if you use it on the camera and it’s not right, then the labs cannot do anything about it. But if you are clean–no filters at all–you can get the same result in the lab.

On Winter Light (1963) we tried to find out something about film lighting: how do we light to make it look real? The French Nouvelle Vague directors were then shooting on location. So, we started to shoot on location in Sweden, and I found I could get a much more realistic atmosphere.

This also applied to composition. We were so restricted that we were simple, because we didn’t have a choice. That helped me later when I came into the studio. I asked for a ceiling on the set so that I wouldn’t be able to use lights. Bergman and I promised each other that we would not have any shadows at all. So we started to use indirect lighting-bounced lighting. Except for the 30 seconds when sunlight walks through the church; the light we used is important and has meaning.

-Sven Nykvist.

Twiggy & Woody Allen

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“He’s a very talented director but I’d probably hit him if I met him now.

He was interviewing me for a documentary that was being made about me in New York. I was only 17, it was my first time in the US and I was very nervous.

When they told me this influential new comic wanted to interview me I thought, ‘It’ll be OK, he’ll just ask me stuff like where I got my name Twiggy and what I liked about America.’ But he didn’t.

I remember him smiling and coming out with, “So who’s your favourite philosopher?” I started to panic and my stomach turned over.

I replied that I didn’t know any philosophers and he came back with words to the effect of, “Oh come on, everyone has a favourite philosopher!”

I told him I’d read Great Expectations and David Copperfield at school, which, by the way, I’d just left. The interview then ended abruptly with him saying: “Oh I can’t interview her!”

It was a horrible experience. I can kind of laugh about it now but would never ever do that to anyone, especially someone younger than myself. I’ve never forgotten it.”

— Twiggy on Woody Allen

Annie Hall

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Woody Allen: Gordon was the one who said to me, when we do the split screen with the shrink, I with my shrink and she with another one. He said: “Don’t do split screen, build it. Build a set with a divider in the middle, so you’re both live. It’ll look like a split screen, but it won’t be.”
 
Gordon Willis: That was a revelation to him at that point, ‘cause that meant both actors could do the scene without being interrupted with doing half a scene and half a scene and put it together optically. 

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La Pointe Courte (dir. Agnès Varda – 1955)
Persona (dir. Ingmar Bergman – 1966)
Love and Death (dir. Woody Allen – 1975)
Mulholland Dr. (dir. David Lynch – 2001)
Hable Con Ella (dir. Pedro Almodovar – 2002)
The Silence (dir. Ingmar Bergman – 1963)

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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.

Stardust memories // Woody Allen

 

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It was one of those great spring days, it was Sunday, and you knew summer would be coming soon. And I remember that morning Dorrie and I had gone for a walk in the park and come back to the apartment. We were just sort of sitting around and I put on a record of Louie Armstrong, which was music I grew up with, and it was very, very pretty, and I happened to glance over and I saw Dorrie sitting there. And I remember thinking to myself how terrific she was and how much I loved her. And I don’t know, I guess it was a combination of everything, the sound of the music, and the breeze, and how beautiful Dorrie looked to me and for one brief moment everything just seemed to come together perfectly and I felt happy, almost indestructible in a way. It’s funny, that simple little moment of contact moved me in a very, very profound way.