"Simplicity! Greater and greater simplicity—that will be the keynote of the new films. Our whole effort must be bent toward ridding motion pictures of all that does not belong to them, of all that is unnecessary and trivial and drawn from other sources—all the tricks, gags, ‘business’ not of the cinema, but of the stage and the written book. That is what has been accomplished when certain films reached the level of great art. That is what I tried to do in The Last Laugh. We must try for more and more simplicity and devotion to pure motion picture technique and material.”

F.W. Murnau
December 28, 1888 — March 11, 1931

Werner Herzog: The images found in vampire films have a quality beyond our usual experiences in the cinema. For me genre means an intensive, almost dreamlike, stylization of screen, and I feel the vampire genre is one of the richest and most fertile cinema has to offer. There is fantasy, hallucination, dreams and nightmares, visions, fear and, of course, mythology… For me, Nosferatu is the greatest of all German films…

Jacques Tourneur: Nothing is more fantastic than the human brain. Fear, horror, terror are in us. Rightly or wrongly, we all carry in us a feeling of guilt. Cruelty flows in our blood, even if we have learned to master it… Now, a good horror film is one that best awakens our old dormant instincts.

John Carpenter: Horror films are a universal genre in that they appeal to the entire world. Whereas, say comedy, that doesn’t really travel sometimes. But horror does. What scares somebody here in Los Angeles probably scares somebody in Hong Kong. People have tried for years to think ‘what is it that scares people and I’ll make a movie about that.’ Well, it’s not that simple… The question is: what is it that you have as a storyteller? What do you have to give to the audience that makes your story compelling?

Kiyoshi Kurosawa: I find ghosts in Japanese horror much more terrifying. In the standard American Horror canon, because a ghost violently attacks you or comes after you, at least you have the chance to fight back. And what you’re fighting for is the idea that you can beat the bad thing and go back to the good old days when you were peaceful and happy and there weren’t any ghosts hanging around. But if they don’t attack you then the best you can do is figure out a way to co-exist with them. I find the idea that one just has to live with this thing much more terrifying. You have no chances of running away or fighting it; you’re stuck with it forever.



"Art—authentic art—is simple. But simplicity demands the maximum of artistry. The camera is the director’s pencil. It should have the greatest possible mobility in order to record the most fleeting harmony of atmosphere. It is important that the mechanical factor should not stand between the spectator and the film."
F.W. MurnauDecember 28, 1888 – March 11, 1931

"Art—authentic art—is simple. But simplicity demands the maximum of artistry. The camera is the director’s pencil. It should have the greatest possible mobility in order to record the most fleeting harmony of atmosphere. It is important that the mechanical factor should not stand between the spectator and the film."

F.W. Murnau
December 28, 1888 – March 11, 1931

F.W. MurnauFilmIcons
Nosferatu // dir. F.W. Murnau

Nosferatu // dir. F.W. Murnau

Sight & Sound Critics’ Poll 2012

  1. Vertigo (dir. Alfred Hitchcock)
  2. Citizen Kane (dir. Orson Welles)
  3. Tokyo Story (dir. Yasujiro Ozu)
  4. The Rules of the Game (dir. Jean Renoir)
  5. Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (dir. F.W. Murnau)
  6. 2001: A Space Odyssey (dir. Stanley Kubrick)
  7. The Searchers (dir. John Ford)
  8. Man with a Movie Camera (dir. Dziga Vertov)
  9. The Passion of Joan of Arc (dir. Carl Th. Dreyer)
  10. 8½ (dir. Federico Fellini)

And the loser is – Citizen Kane. After 50 years at the top of the Sight & Sound poll, Orson Welles’s debut film has been convincingly ousted by Alfred Hitchcock’s 45th feature Vertigo – and by a whopping 34 votes, compared with the mere five that separated them a decade ago. So what does it mean? Given that Kane actually clocked over three times as many votes this year as it did last time, it hasn’t exactly been snubbed by the vastly larger number of voters taking part in this new poll, which has spread its net far wider than any of its six predecessors. [More…, x]

The Films of F.W. Murnau

Nosferatu // dir. F.W. Murnau

Nosferatu // dir. F.W. Murnau