Strictly Go Film School: Quotations to Ponder

“A film is difficult to explain because it is easy to understand.”
— Christian Metz

“The cinema gives us a substitute world which fits our desires.”
— Andre Bazin

“The future of cinematography belongs to a new race of young solitaries who will shoot films by putting their last penny into it and not let themselves be taken in by the material routines of the trade.”
— Robert Bresson

“. . . contrary to current opinion, the cinema is infinitely poorer and more limited for the expression of the real function of thought than writing, painting, sculpture and architecture. There is hardly anything below it except music, whose spiritual value is, as everyone knows, just about nil.”
— Salvador Dali, 1932

“The cinema is in itself a dream. The language of dreams is the same as that of the cinema. Think of the way characters appear and disappear, time is elliptical, space is expanded and so on. What I put into my films is not so much the characters I’ve dreamed about as a certain light, a certain perspective.”
— Federico Fellini, 1990

“Someone who can work with the minimum can work with the most. One who can work with the most cannot, inevitably, work with the minimum.”
— Robert Bresson

“As soon as you can make films, you can no longer make films like the ones that made you want to make them.”
— Jean-Luc Godard

“I never think of any film as a message film. I never think of a film as doing anything except providing a heightened sense of being.”
— Nicholas Ray

“All of [Nicholas Ray’s] films are crossed by the same obsession with twilight, the solitude of beings, the difficulty of human relations.”
— Jacques Rivette

“To be a theoretician of the cinema, one should ideally no longer love the cinema and yet still love it; have loved it a lot and only have detached oneself from it by taking it up again from the other end, taking it as the target for the very same scopic drive which had made one love it. Having broken with it, as certain relationships are broken, not in order to move on to something else, but it order to return to it at the next bend in the spiral.”
— Christian Metz

“Photography is not the reflection of reality. It is, rather, the reality of that reflection.”
— Jean-Luc Godard

“But that condition is widespread; it enables Brian De Palma to rhapsodize over moving camera sensations while giving up thoughts of the human context. It comes in part from film schools that encourage the young appetite for technology and manipulation, and that allow students to study nothing but film. Even at Dartmouth . . . I have people coming to me brimming with the sensation of film but in need of ideas and narratives that can be the pretext for the roller-coaster. At such moments, one fears for a population whose experience is rooted in imagery, not in life.”
— David Thomson, 1979

“No art can survive on purely mechanical inspiration. When the film has exhausted its technical elan, then it must inevitably return to the poets.”
— Herbert Read, 1932

“’An’ that’s the thing –’ said Jimmy Stewart, ‘that’s the great thing about the movies. . . . After you learn — and if you’re good and Gawd helps ya and you’re lucky to have a personality that comes across — then what you’re doing is — you’re giving people little . . . little, tiny pieces of time . . . that they never forget.’”
— Peter Bogdanovich

“If a thousand prints are made of a Marxist film, it becomes Gone With The Wind.”
— Jean-Luc Godard

“Build your film on white, on silence and on stillness.”
— Robert Bresson

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