The Narrow Margin (1952)

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"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.

Chantal Akerman on Jeanne Dielman

Dielman

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.

Jean-Luc Godard (b. December 3, 1930)

Godard

I don’t make a distinction between directing and criticism. When I began to look at pictures, that was already part of moviemaking. If I go to see the last Hal Hartley picture, that’s part of making a movie, too. There is no difference. I am part of filmmaking and I must continue to look at what is going on. [With] American picture[s], more or less one every year is enough: they are more or less all the same. But it’s a part of seeing this is the world we are living in.

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[FilmComment]

film editing

Pudovkin

Rolling Stone: You’ve quoted Pudovkin to the effect that editing is the only original and unique art form in film.

Stanley Kubrick: I think so. Everything else comes from something else. Writing, of course, is writing, acting comes from the theater, and cinematography comes from photography. Editing is unique to film. You can see something from different points of view almost simultaneously, and it creates a new experience.

Pudovkin gives an example: You see a guy hanging a picture on the wall. Suddenly you see his feet slip; you see the chair move; you see his hand go down and the picture fall off the wall. In that split second, a guy falls off a chair, and you see it in a way that you could not see it any other way except through editing.

[Rolling Stone]

Liv Ullmann

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“When I decide to portray a part, I can never completely hide who I am, what I am. At the point of identification, the audience encounters a person, not a role, not an actress. A face to face. It’s what I know about women. It’s what I have experienced, what I’ve seen. That’s what I want to share with you.”

Liv Ullmann
Born December 16, 1938

Tatsuya Nakadai

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“People say [my eyes] are expressive but I’ve never tried to use them that way. They are just the gateway to my internal feelings. Kurosawa used to tell me, ‘Wherever you are, there is light coming from your eyes.’ And that’s a very good thing for an actor, I say.”
 
Tatsuya Nakadai
Born December 13, 1932

Yasujiro Ozu

Yasujiro Ozu

“Rather than tell a superficial story, I wanted to go deeper, to show the hidden undercurrents, the ever-changing uncertainties of life. So instead of constantly pushing dramatic action to the fore, I left empty spaces, so viewers could have a pleasant aftertaste to savor.”
 
Yasujiro Ozu
December 12, 1903 – December 12, 1963

Georges Méliès, December 8, 1861 — January 21, 1938

Georges

“The camera I was using in the beginning, a rudimentary affair in which the film would tear or would often refuse to move, produced an unexpected effect one day when I was photographing very prosaically the Place de l’Opera. It took a minute to release the film and get the camera going again. During this minute the people, buses vehicles had of course moved. Projecting the film, having joined the break, I suddenly saw a Madeleine-Bastille omnibus change into a hearse and men into women. The trick of substitution, called the trick of stop-action was discovered…”

Fritz Lang

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December 5, 1890 – August 2, 1976
 
“I think that certain people overestimate the power of a director. A film is the result of teamwork. But the director has certain powers. Permit me to tell you a story. When Fury was finished, the producer asked me into his office after a private viewing of the film. He accused me of changing the screenplay. I asked him how I could have done that since I didn’t speak a word of English. He demanded a copy of the screenplay, and after reading it he exclaimed, ‘Hell, you’re right. But it seems different on the screen!’ And perhaps it was different—for him!”