Miss Oyu — dir. Kenji Mizoguchi


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."

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."

"I graduated from the Beijing Film Academy in the ’90s, and I did study a lot of wuxia pictures. Since I graduated, I’ve been making movies that have nothing to with wuxia pictures. But I do want to experiment with different genres, I feel that they speak to the social complexities that are mounting more and more in China’s contemporary realities. When I was in university, I was writing about how all the wuxia films I had seen were indeed political allegories. They portray individuals suffering the pressures and injustices of society, and that brings about a tragic destiny where they have to resort to violence. I see this in direct connection to the state of things now in contemporary China, the social injustices felt by ordinary people who have no means of expressing their state, who must resort to violence to treat violence. It’s a tragic situation that things have not really changed for the destiny of ordinary people. I wanted to open up this discussion.” [x]

"I think that within the wuxia form, the characters are all imbued with a mysticism. They’re warriors that can fly through bamboo forests and they have special powers. In A Touch of Sin the characters are ordinary people. They don’t necessarily have kung fu skills. When they encounter these acts of violence and begin using their own violence to counteract what was inflicted upon them, they go through a transformation and become like the mystical warriors of the wuxia films. So I’ve treated every instance of violence in the film as though it were a mystical event. Because they’re so surreal and out of the ordinary. Perhaps most of us have never conceived a degree of violence in our quotidian lives. And oftentimes we just learn about the final result of these violent acts through news, but we can’t imagine the process that leads to this result, so it’s all imaginary.” [x]

Jia Zhang-ke on the influence of the wuxia film on A Touch of Sin.

The Wishing Tree — dir. Tengiz Abuladze


"The fact is, there’s an enigmatic relationship between Max and myself. He has meant a tremendous amount to me. Stravinsky once said something good. I heard Blomdahl and him discussing Alban Berg’s Lulu. They were discussing a singer. Stravinsky said she was a bad Lulu, because she was so vulgar. But then Blomdahl, as I remember it, said: ‘But Lulu’s the vulgarest female alive.’ And Stravinsky said: ‘Yes, and that’s why she must be played by an actress who hasn’t a trace of vulgarity in her—but can play it.’ I suppose that’s exactly what I find in Max von Sydow. As an actor, Max is sound through and through. Robust. Technically durable. If I’d had a psychopath to present these deeply psychopathic roles, it would have been unbearable. It’s a question of acting the part of a broken man, not of being him. The sort of exhibitionism in this respect which is all the rage just now will pass over, I think. By and by people will regain their feeling for the subtle detachment which often exists between Max and my madmen.”
— Ingmar Bergman | 1968
"Mr. Bergman was a man of great working discipline. He forced everyone to concentrate when it was important. No disturbing noise during rehearsal. A code of silence. But in between, when [the camera and lighting] was being changed and re-rigged, there were a lot of laughs and a lot of fun. He had a great sense of humor. He had a talent of making people feel that they were participating in something important and something aspiring. He created teamwork. Mr. Bergman had a great imagination and saw the possibilities within every one of his actors, and he gave us great challenges. It was very inspiring. Whatever good I have done on screen I owe to him. I have learned discipline. I have learned concentration and the joy of acting."
— Max von Sydow | 2013

"The fact is, there’s an enigmatic relationship between Max and myself. He has meant a tremendous amount to me. Stravinsky once said something good. I heard Blomdahl and him discussing Alban Berg’s Lulu. They were discussing a singer. Stravinsky said she was a bad Lulu, because she was so vulgar. But then Blomdahl, as I remember it, said: ‘But Lulu’s the vulgarest female alive.’ And Stravinsky said: ‘Yes, and that’s why she must be played by an actress who hasn’t a trace of vulgarity in her—but can play it.’ I suppose that’s exactly what I find in Max von Sydow. As an actor, Max is sound through and through. Robust. Technically durable. If I’d had a psychopath to present these deeply psychopathic roles, it would have been unbearable. It’s a question of acting the part of a broken man, not of being him. The sort of exhibitionism in this respect which is all the rage just now will pass over, I think. By and by people will regain their feeling for the subtle detachment which often exists between Max and my madmen.”

Ingmar Bergman | 1968

"Mr. Bergman was a man of great working discipline. He forced everyone to concentrate when it was important. No disturbing noise during rehearsal. A code of silence. But in between, when [the camera and lighting] was being changed and re-rigged, there were a lot of laughs and a lot of fun. He had a great sense of humor. He had a talent of making people feel that they were participating in something important and something aspiring. He created teamwork. Mr. Bergman had a great imagination and saw the possibilities within every one of his actors, and he gave us great challenges. It was very inspiring. Whatever good I have done on screen I owe to him. I have learned discipline. I have learned concentration and the joy of acting."

Max von Sydow | 2013

The Conversation — dir. Francis Ford Coppola

"The whole film is about memories, and the scraps of memories, that these women carry around in tin cans and little private boxes. Everyone’s grandparents or old aunts and uncles have scraps of memories—like when you go to an old relative’s house and you find boxes with all these little bits of this and that, that have to do with your family. ‘Scraps of memory’ is also taken from a paper W.E.B. Du Bois wrote about the fact that African Americans don’t have a solid lineage that they can trace. All they have are scraps of memories remaining from the past. I wanted memory to be a central focus of the story." — Julie Dash on Daughters of the Dust

Jim Jarmusch: I’m a big blues and R&B fan. I had never been to New Orleans when I wrote the script, but I had a lot of images in my head mostly just from the music of New Orleans. That just kind of drew me there. […] Shooting it was so much fun. Being in New Orleans was great and we had a really wild time. In retrospect I don’t how we got through it—it seemed as if we had a celebration after each night of shooting and I don’t know physically how we got the film made. I tend to see my films in retrospect like home movies—I don’t see the film any more, but I remember the experience of making it. […] For me, in the end of the film I definitely imagine Zack and Jack, and Roberto and Nicoletta, continuing to exist as characters and I really did not want to draw a velvet curtain across the screen and have everything all finished. I wanted these characters to continue to exist out there in the world somehow. [1994/1992/2002]

Robby Müller: In the beginning I didn’t know what form Down by Law should have. Then I got the most important directing from [Jim] when I asked him what should I do in this story, because I have no idea what style of photography I should give, and he said, “Well, Robby, it’s just a fairy tale.” And it was really the only direction I got and I was very happy with it because it was not precise, in that sense. So I suddenly felt free and could do what I liked and I felt extremely free there—any invention I did would fit into the film… [Jim] is by far the director I most respect of all that I’ve worked for in my life. I feel that he respects everyone around him, including me. [2002]

Claire Denis: When Jim asked me to work with him, I thought it was a joke, because at the time I was off doing location scouting in Cameroon for Chocolat. But Jim was serious. So I flew halfway across the world from Cameroon to New Orleans to work on Down by Law. And there, when I was his AD, he gave me a rabbit’s foot that I kept. I think I did my first film with that rabbit’s foot in my pocket the whole time. And then I lost it when I was in Cannes, and thought, uh-oh, the good luck charm is gone. Maybe I didn’t need it, who knows. […] I think really I was not needed. I think he enjoyed the fact that when he was about to shoot Down by Law, it was like a sort of poetic gesture to decide I was going to be the assistant. I was not even allowed by the union so they changed my name or whatever. But I mean I really worked. I was not just invited to watch shooting. I really enjoy working with him, yeah, very much so. And it’s still strong, because he is—I don’t know—we don’t see each other very often, as you might imagine. But it’s important for me to know that he’s working. His work is important for me. [2003/2004]

Roberto Benigni: I met Jim Jarmusch in Italy. I couldn’t talk one single word in English, and he the same in Italian. So we tried to talk with physical, with the body. We immediately love each other, and Jim decided to write this character Bob in Down by Law. It was my first time in United States, in Louisiana, in the swamp, with the crocodiles. For me it was a dream, this is such a wonderful memory, such a wonderful souvenir. And what it is very rare, I met also Tom Waits and John Lurie, the musician and the singer, and we are still very close friends. Especially with Jim Jarmusch, every week we call each other, we talk. We are still very, very close friends. [2009]


"My films are not a personal expression but a prayer. When I make a film, it’s like a holy day. As if I were lighting a candle in front of an icon, or placing a bouquet of flowers before it. The spectator always ends up by understanding when you are sincere in what you are telling him. I don’t invent any language to appear simpler, stupider, or smarter. A lack of honesty would destroy the dialogue. Time has worked for me. When people understood that I was speaking a natural language, that I wasn’t pretending, that I didn’t take them for imbeciles, that I only say what I think, then they became interested in what I was doing."
"Given the competition with commercial cinema, a director has a particular responsibility towards his audiences. I mean by this that because of cinema’s unique power to affect an auditorium—in the identification of the screen with life—the most meaningless, unreal commercial film can have just the same kind of magical effect on the uncritical and uneducated cinema-goer as that derived by his discerning counterpart from a real film. The tragic and crucial difference is that if art can stimulate emotions and ideas, mass-appeal cinema, because of its easy, irresistible effect, extinguishes all traces of thought and feeling irrevocably. People cease to feel any need for the beautiful or the spiritual, and consume films like bottles of Coca-Cola.”
Andrei TarkovskyApril 4, 1932 — December 29, 1986

"My films are not a personal expression but a prayer. When I make a film, it’s like a holy day. As if I were lighting a candle in front of an icon, or placing a bouquet of flowers before it. The spectator always ends up by understanding when you are sincere in what you are telling him. I don’t invent any language to appear simpler, stupider, or smarter. A lack of honesty would destroy the dialogue. Time has worked for me. When people understood that I was speaking a natural language, that I wasn’t pretending, that I didn’t take them for imbeciles, that I only say what I think, then they became interested in what I was doing."

"Given the competition with commercial cinema, a director has a particular responsibility towards his audiences. I mean by this that because of cinema’s unique power to affect an auditorium—in the identification of the screen with life—the most meaningless, unreal commercial film can have just the same kind of magical effect on the uncritical and uneducated cinema-goer as that derived by his discerning counterpart from a real film. The tragic and crucial difference is that if art can stimulate emotions and ideas, mass-appeal cinema, because of its easy, irresistible effect, extinguishes all traces of thought and feeling irrevocably. People cease to feel any need for the beautiful or the spiritual, and consume films like bottles of Coca-Cola.”

Andrei Tarkovsky
April 4, 1932 — December 29, 1986

The Last of England — dir. Derek Jarman