Film is tricky. It either stands the test of time, or shows its age very quickly. When a film is excellent, the story is universal, the narrative holds up, and we are engaged. It may go on to win awards, or it may be a film that is one of those hidden gems, but it is as good today as the time it first premiered.
Here I’ve collected 12 quotes by filmmakers past and present about filmmaking. Given their successes, it is inspiring to hear what it is they have said about their craft.
I think it is very important that films make people look at what they’ve forgotten.
Spike Lee, director of Do The Right Thing and Malcom X
I like unformed characters. This may be because, no matter how old I get, I am still unformed myself.
Akira Kurosawa,director of Seven Samurai and Kagemusha
Dialogue should simply be a sound among other sounds, just something that comes out of the mouths of people whose eyes tell the story in visual terms.
Alfred Hitchcock, director of Psycho and The Birds
I just made pictures I would’ve liked to see.
Billy Wilder, director of Sunset Boulevard and The Apartment
All worthy work is open to interpretations the author did not intend. Art isn’t your pet — it’s your kid. It grows up and talks back to you.
Joss Whedon, director of Serenity and The Avengers
There’s no such thing as simple. Simple is hard.
Martin Scorsese, director of The Departed and Hugo
I have always been more interested in experiment than in accomplishment.
Orson Welles, director of Citizen Kane and Touch of Evil
That’s the way I work: I try to imagine what I would like to see.
Remember, pain is temporary; film is forever.
Peter Jackson, director of The Lord of the Rings trilogy
I don’t think about technique. The ideas dictate everything. You have to be true to that or you’re dead.
David Lynch, director of Elephant Man and Blue Velvet
Perhaps it sounds ridiculous, but the best thing that young filmmakers should do is to get hold of a camera and some film and make a movie of any kind at all.
Stanley Kubrick, director of 2001:A Space Odyssey and The Shining
You have to be willing to take those risks. … In whatever you are doing, failure is an option. But fear is not.
James Cameron, director of Titanic and Avatar