Abbas Kiarostami : “My feelings don’t lie, I will go on trusting them.”

Abbas Kiarostami : “Sometimes I can’t understand what the word realism means. I don’t think reality deserves any credit in itself…. When you record reality, you interfere with it. If I shoot 18 hours of film, and edit it down to 45 or 50 minutes, this means interfering with reality. If I wanted to be faithful to reality, I’d show an 18-hour film.”

Abbas Kiarostami : “If a character has to feel fear, I’ll scare him, if he has to he happy, I’ll make him happy, Everything has to be real. I can’t stand artificial sentiments.”

Akira Kurosawa : “I believe the films of Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami are extraordinary. Words cannot relate my feelings. I suggest you see his films, and then you will see what I mean”.

Alexander Sokurov : “I am nothing but a worker whom the destiny has thrown in the realm of cinema. Neither my upbringing nor my psychology prepared myself for it. Even genetically, I was not made for culture. “

Amos Gitai : “There was a lot of anger in me, coming out of Yom Kippur war. It was also political. People of that generation were really furious with our political leadership’s lack of responsibility. I distilled that anger into cinema.“

Andre Dussollier : “I was a kid when I saw The Cranes are flying, the Russian film by Mikhail Kalatozov. I was greatly moved by the death of the Fiance on the front, the rise of the stairs, the overwhelming farewells of the lovers.  I would perhaps find all this rather melodramatic today, but at that time I was carried away by the romanticism of the story.”

Andre Techine : “I am perhaps not paranoid enough and still …. but I don’t see which Titanic will ever prevent the existence of Kiarostami”.

Andrei Tarkovski : “My films are my life and my life is my films. “

Andrzej Wajda : “My fervent hope is that the only flames people will encounter will be the great passions of the heart — love, gratitude and solidarity.”

Barbet Schroeder : “The Taste of Cherry brings an optimist response to all the questions which we have tackled.”

Bille August : “One day, I got a call from a man, and he said, “This is Ingmar Bergman and I’ re written a piece about my parents and I’ve decided at this point in my life I don ‘t want to direct anymore and I would like you to do it if you are interested, “ Of course, I was extremely honored and thrilled. At the same time, when I started to think about it, I started to get scared because at that time, I was pretty established and therefore, 1 couldn’t really be his assistant or “do a Bergman film.” The only way I could do it was to work as I had always done. Anyway, I went to see him and the first thing he said to me was, “I’ve done more than 50 films myself and I know how important it is for a director to keep his integrity. I am the screen-writer on this one, yon are the director, and YOU make the decisions.” So that answered all my questions and I was really very relieved. He only had one demand.” He said, Pernilla – I wrote it for her and I want her to play my mother.” And that was fine with me because she is a wonderful actress. Then I spent almost 3 months with him, four hours every afternoon. We sat and went through the whole script. To be honest, most of the time we talked about life and other different things. It was really a wonderful time.”

Claude Chabrol : “When I saw the first reel of Das Testament des Dr Mabuse by Fritz Lang, I felt myself in a state of extreme excitement. It was at the university film club just after the war. I came from La Creuse where my family and myself were refugees during the German occupation. At the end of this screening, I had found my vocation. I would be the director of Cinema.”

Claude Lelouch : “In my films, the actors are the only people who count. The technology can’t clone

even a single moment of emotion.”

Eliseo Subiela : “I went with my old man to see the Russian film, Ballad of a Soldier, three times, I think. Neither of us admitted that we shed tears shamelessly seeing that film. Actually, I never saw him crying and I never let him see me cry. But both of us knew that we went to the film to cry. Some of my neighbourhood friends / pals would never forgive me for that. Wajda, Kawalerowicz, the Nouvelle Vague, my love affair with Godard and Truffaut. And then I knew. Although I could walk away from the movie theatre, I could never walk away from cinema. Love began. And everybody knows the difficulties that brings on.”

Emir Kusturica : “I have turned towards the past. I feel myself as somebody who finishes a chapter of the History of Cinema.”

Enno Patalas : “Abschied von Gestern is the best German film since 1933.”

Francesco Rosi : “The first three places I visit in any city are the port, the market and the cemetery. The first allows me to understand how the city relates to the wider world, the second how it lives in the present and the third how it sees its past.”

Fritz Lang : “So many things have been written about M, it has become so to speak THE MOTION PICTURE. I made it in 1931, and it plays constantly in Switzerland, France and even the States if a film survives so long then there may be a right to call it a piece of art. The story came out of the fact that I originally wanted to make a story about a very, very nasty crime. I was married in these days and my wife, Thea von Harbou, was the writer. We talked about the most hideous crime and decided that it would be writing anonymous letters and then one day I had an idea and I came home and said ‘how would it be if I made a picture about a child murderer?’ and so we switched. At the same time in Dusseldorf a series of murders of young and old people happened, but as much as I remember the script was ready and finished before they caught that murderer. I had Peter Loire in mind when I was writing the script. He was an upcoming actor and, he had played in two or three things in the theatre in Berlin, but never before on the screen. I did not give him a screen test, I was just absolutely convinced that he was right for the pan. It was very hard to know how to direct him; I think a good director is not the one who puts his personality on top of the personality of the actor, I think a good director is one who gets the best out of his actor.”

Francois Truffailt : “Was I a good critic? I don’t know. But one thing I am sure is that I was always on the side of those who were hissed and against those who were hissing; and that my enjoyment often began where that of others had left off: Renoir’s changes of lone, Orson Welles’ excesses, Pagnol’s or Guitry’s carelessness, Bresson’s nakedness. 1 think there was no trace of snobbery in my tastes.”

Gerard Darmon : “The 21st century of cinema would be more or less identical to the one which has just ended. There would always be a man and a woman to say to each other: I love you.”

Gina Lollobrigida : “My most beautiful souvenir as a spectator is a most recent one.   It was a Bulgarian film, The Goat Horn by Nikolai Volev. This a remarkably dramatic and actual story, full of reality and poetry. Unfortunately, the film did not receive the sort of reception which it deserved on behalf of the worldwide distribution. Personally, I would be happy to work with this director. I don’t know him but I had a chance to appreciate his wonderful sensibility.”

Giuseppe de Santis : “I want to shout to everyone that they should hurry to sec Mark Donskoi’s “The Rainbow“… It is a genuinely poetic work of art, a rare masterpiece ….”

Goran Paskaljevic : “Some years ago, I was proud and rather embarrassed to hear from a Russian student, who had studied film direction in a course taught by Andrei Tarkovsky, that his professor used the opening scene from my Beach Guard in Winter as an example for effective opening and good presentation of characters in a film.”

Goran Paskaljevic : “To this day I still believe that Vittorio Sica’s Bicycle Thieves (1948), a film full of emotions and simplicity, tells more about Italy than any documentary.  Thus, simplicity became my credo. I always tried to portray simple, true people. That is, people full of real emotions and not wraped in the dialectics of a political pamphlet.”

Goran Paskaljevic : “In my student days Sergei Paradjanov had the strongest influence on me. Together with Andrei Tarkovsky, Paradjanov should be numbered among the great cineaste directors in the world and of all time. As for Tarkovsky, he had the greatest spiritual influence on me and my work. But I must add that I have managed to avoid his spiritual depth as much as possible in my own work. Tarkovsky’s world is too autochthonous, too indigenous, and his cinematic thought and concepts too advanced for our time.”

Henri Georges Clouzot : “The cinema is a permanent invention. The day of its definite invention would be the day of its death.”

Ingmar Bergman : “To me, Iosif Heift’s The Lady with a Lapdog is like a purifying glass of water from a crystal-clear spring. I greatly admire the film’s total lack of sentimentality often attributed to Chekhov abroad. I can watch this film endlessly.”

Istvan Szabo : “There are of course, wonderful European films around today. The most recent European film I sail’ was MOVIE DAYS, a beautiful Icelandic film by Fridrik Thor Fridriksson. Watching children singing together in a cinema of the fifties I started to cry, because this was also my childhood. It touched me very, very deeply. Fridriksson’s film is so simple, but it is full of poetry, full of philosophy, full of experience and full of love.”

Jean Jacques Annaud : “I like to scare myself a little bit when I make films as, I believe that the big

danger when yon are a director, is to have confidence.”

Jean Luc Godard : ‘A film is ‘the truth 24 times a second.’ Hollywood has buried cinema’s search for truth beneath the search for marketable concepts. Most American directors are like orphans, they have no parents, no history. There’s no story, so they have to invent one. I was always accused of doing pictures will no plot. But a picture is first a story, second a story and third a story. The Americans just spread their story all over the world, hoping that a majority of the audience will buy them the history they don’t have.”

Jean Pierre Cassel : “The shooting of Caporal Epingle by Renoir is engraved in my heart. I share the  bill with Clande Brassem, Claude Rich, Guy Bedos. We were a group of youngsters. We started our career with a lot of enthusiasm and freshness, I had already worked with Philippe de Broca. But having been chosen by Renoir for a monumental role was a consecration. Renoir’s name galvanized us and I return our enthusiasm was such that Renoir tired dud worn out, pursued the shooting. In spite of his exhaustion he had continued for us. Renoir knew how to listen. There is no better director of an actor that a cineaste who knows to listen. Listening gives confidence to an actor as an actor with confidence has talent.

Konstantin Lopushanski : “We are not famous because of the film “Moscow does not believe tears”. We are famous because of cineastes like Tarkovski and Paradjanov.”

Krzysztof Kieslowski : “I don’t like the word ‘success’, and I always fiercely defend myself again it, because I don’t know what the word means at all. For me, success means attaining something I’d real like. Thai’s success. And what I really like is probably unattainable, so I don’t look at things in the terms. My recognition has got nothing to do with success. That’s very far from success.”

Lars Von Trier : “I wanted to be a filmmaker ever since I was 12 years old. My Uncle made documentaries, so the cinema was little bit in my family’s genes. As a Kid, I made 8 mm Films, it u great. What really interested me in Cinema was its technical aspect, nothing else. With a Camera, I u able to amuse myself, I had enormous possibilities.”

Leos Carax : “The cinema of Sarunas Bartas has always existed ever since the world is world. But i where have we been?”

Marta Meszaros : “Unfortunately, it is hard to raise money for films in Europe. European film making is not in very good shape. There is little money available, and generally the American film indus has swallowed European cinema.” 

Marthe Keller : “My most strong and the biggest souvenir of cinema, I believe, is the Russian film Dark Eyes. It was a small role but I had a great emotion of shooting with Mikhalkov in Russia as Chekhov is my god. “

Michelangelo Alltonioni : “I am not a theoretician of the cinema. If you ask me what directing is, the first answer that comes into my head is: I don’t know. The second: All my opinions on the subject are in my films. “

Mohsen Makhmalbaf : “The art of motion picture is a dynamic and evolving enterprise, and no one can claim to have arrived at an absolute definition of cinema which could he true for till times. “

Mohsen Makhmalbaf : “The truth is a mirror that falls from the hand of God and shatters into pieces. Everyone picks up a piece and believes that that piece contains the whole truth, even though the truth is left sown about in each fragment.“

Nikita Mikhalkov : “I can adapt Flaubert in a professional manner and may be reasonably well, but it would still be a Russian interpretation of Flaubert. Even if everyone speaks French, it will really not be a French film. It is like Kurosaiva who has adapted “The Idiot” and “King Lear”: It is a Japanese interpretation of these works.”

Pier Paolo Pasolini : “It is said about me that I have three idols: Christ, Marx and Freud. These are nothing but formulae. As a matter of fact, my only idol is reality. If I have chosen to be a cineaste at the same time as a writer, it is rather to express this reality with, symbols, which are words, I have preferred the means of expression that is cinema in order to express reality with the help of reality.”

Rainer Werner Fassbinder : “Someday, films must stop being films, must stop being stories and begin to become alive, so that one asks how does this relate to me and my life.”

Reinhard Haujf : “The films of neorealism — the early Luchino Visconti, Roberto Rossellini, Francesco Rosi, the early Pier Paolo Pasolini. Also the American “Film Noir”. Directors who confront social problems by means of a realistic style have influenced me — Wolfgang Staudte and Konrad Wolf, for example. In order to make realistic films, you have to have a stance, a social standpoint, a political vision. If you don’t have a vision of a different society, of more justice, you don’t have a criterion for approaching reality and establishing priorities. “

Sacha Guitry : “A comedy that ends in a ivedding, that’s a tragedy that is beginning.‘’

Sergei Bodrov : “DON’T TRUST, DON’T BE AFRAID, DON’T ASK are the three main rules of a prisoner. These rules are well known to my film Svoboda Eta Rai’s (Freedom is Paradise) 14 year old hero. Nevertheless, he makes attempts after attempts to escape from the school for juvenile delinquents. He sets out alone on a long and perilous journey. He will make it. He will see his father serving a prison sentence in the far North. When the little prisoner embraces his father and consoles him and rekindles his hopes, I, too, begin to hope for something in this life. “ 

Sergei Paradjanov : “Once, when I was invited to see Andrei Rublev, Tarkovski introduced the screening by saying that he was nervous ‘because Paradjanov is in (he room’—now I’m the one to be nervous, for Kira Muratova is here with us.”

Shohei Imamura : “In Japan, the cinema isn’t a part of culture.”

Takeshi Kltatio : “No film seems a threat or inspiration to me under the pretext that it was shot in USA.”

Tetlghiz Abuladze : “A director needs like-minded assistants. The whole crew must understand what it is filming and what is behind it. I do not require blind obedience. That is why I use the word like-minded. During the shooting it is the crew and after the film is released it is the audience.”

Theo Angelopoulos : “I create audiences for my films, not films for audiences.”

Vittorio De Sica : “Why should we filmmakers go in search of extraordinary adventures when we are confronted in our daily lives with facts that cause genuine anguish?”

E Thangraj

Born in 08.11.1941. Associated with Film Society Movement for last 28 years ad has worked Office Bearer of the Federation of Film Societies of India (SR) for 12 years from 1986-98. Now working as General Secretary of ICA Foundation. Has been the Festival Director of two International Film Festivals during Dec 2003 and 2004. Acted as Jury on behalf FFSI at Cotbus International Film Festival and Leipzig Documentary International Film Festival. Based in Chennai, India.