Tokyo Story — dir. Yasujiro Ozu

Naomi Kawase: My desire to make a film always starts with a personal event that leaves its mark on me and that I want to translate into images. I create fictions from very personal things… I didn’t come into filmmaking from, as you say, watching other films and then wanting to be a director. Fundamentally, it was my love of the medium of film as a tool to capture the moment, the moment that’s happening right now. When film was first invented, there was that excitement about its ability to capture a moment in time, the here and the now. And that’s really the starting point for my interest in the film medium.

Claire Denis: In filmmaking, day by day you’re fighting against all elements, like sailing a boat, you know? If it’s bad weather, you have to react to that. If there’s no wind, you cannot move. So the audience is not always there, in my mind. The audience is like a friend, someone I know I’m going to meet later, but in between that moment of meeting and the moment of making the film—it’s so huge, the gap in between. I cannot even imagine the film finished when we’re shooting. So how can I imagine facing the audience, saying, this is my film, audience that I respect so much! No. I would be lying if I said that. I always hope that if I do things the way I like, I will end up having respected the audience.

Larisa Shepitko: Dovzhenko tried to teach us to see the world. Most of all he warned us against acquiring only the technical skills of the craft. He did not like “followers” who just tried to ape his approach. He urged us to be faithful to ourselves, to trust our own feelings and to stand up for our views. I did not realize at the time how difficult this is. You come to understand such things as you grow older… He used to tell us that when starting on a new film we should know what new things it would tell the audiences, and whether it would foster their better human qualities. I think this is the goal of art.

Safi Faye: I don’t know how a film is born. It’s an idea that comes; I then begin to work on it—while cooking, while getting dressed, while bathing, everywhere I went… I have always felt that a film belongs to the public… One need not explain her conceptualization, her process. The film—either one likes it or not. The story—you like it or you don’t… My sense of creativity, though, is to let the audience imagine what the images signify. It is not necessary to make everything explicit for the audience. They have to think. Creativity invites such thinking; that is why I create.

Maya Deren: Instead of envying the script and dialogue writers, the trained actors, the elaborate staffs and sets, the enormous production budgets of the profession film, the amateur should make use of the one great advantage which all professionals envy him, namely, freedom—both artistic and physical… The most important part of your equipment is yourself: your mobile body, your imaginative mind, and your freedom to use both. Make sure you do use them.

Visual echoes in Kenji Mizoguchi’s Ugetsu.

Ugetsu — dir. Kenji Mizoguchi

"It’s too bad she won’t live. But then again, who does?"

All the episodes were really part of our family history. All of them, without exception. The only made up episode is the illness of the narrator, the author (whom we do not see on the screen)… You are asking whether this kind of creation, this creating of one’s own world—is this truth? Well, it is truth of course but as refracted through my memory. Consider for example my childhood home which we filmed, which you see in the film—this is a set. That is, the house was reconstructed in precisely the same spot where it had stood before, many years ago. What was left there was a… not even the foundation, only a hole that had once contained it. And precisely at this spot the house was rebuilt, reconstructed from photographs. This was extremely important to me—not because I wanted to be a naturalist of some kind but because my whole personal attitude toward the film’s content depended upon it; it would have been a personal drama for me if the house had looked different. Of course the trees have grown a lot at this place, everything overgrew, we had to cut down a lot. But when I brought my mom there, who appears in several sequences, she was so moved by this sight that I understood immediately it created the right impression…

I owe everything mainly to my mother. It was she who helped me find myself. And even in the film one can clearly see our living conditions were very tough, very difficult. Such were the times. Then my mother was left alone, I was 3 years old, my sister 1 year and a half and mother was bringing us up simply all the way, she never married, she was always with us. She didn’t marry for the second time, she loved her husband, my father, all her life. She was an amazing woman, really a saint.

Andrei Tarkovsky

Century of Birthing — dir. Lav Diaz


"I really don’t play favorites with my own films because I already feel lucky enough just being able to make a film in Taiwan. So every time I get behind the camera, all of my energy and effort is concentrated there. And although there may be areas that I feel aren’t perfect, I know that it isn’t because I didn’t work hard enough. Sometimes those are actually the most interesting parts. When I look back I discover that I have always been doing the same thing. Every time I get behind the camera to direct, I approach it as if it were my first film… Filmmaking is my passion, it is what I love to do, so I never feel that I’m at ‘work’—I feel like I’m at play! So when people comment on how interesting my job is, all I can do is smile because I agree with them! So I always encourage young people to follow their hearts and choose a career that they really enjoy and love. If you do that, you’ll never feel that your job is hard work."
Edward YangNovember 6, 1947 — June 29, 2007

"I really don’t play favorites with my own films because I already feel lucky enough just being able to make a film in Taiwan. So every time I get behind the camera, all of my energy and effort is concentrated there. And although there may be areas that I feel aren’t perfect, I know that it isn’t because I didn’t work hard enough. Sometimes those are actually the most interesting parts. When I look back I discover that I have always been doing the same thing. Every time I get behind the camera to direct, I approach it as if it were my first film… Filmmaking is my passion, it is what I love to do, so I never feel that I’m at ‘work’—I feel like I’m at play! So when people comment on how interesting my job is, all I can do is smile because I agree with them! So I always encourage young people to follow their hearts and choose a career that they really enjoy and love. If you do that, you’ll never feel that your job is hard work."

Edward Yang
November 6, 1947 — June 29, 2007

Edward YangIcons

"In its iconography, Le Samouraï, like Le Doulos, multiplies Hollywood citations: the line-up at the police station, ‘lifted’ from The Asphalt Jungle, with Jef, like Dix (Sterling Hayden) staring down at police and witnesses, the police station offices, the black-and-white views of American fire escapes through Jef’s (sash) windows. These, however, are not examples of ‘copying’ or ‘reproduction’, as Tavernier and others would have it, but formal elements that are self-consciously reworked in Melville’s original design.” — Jean-Pierre Melville: An American in Paris

Double Indemnity — dir. Billy Wilder