Quentin Tarantino:”Carbon copies give me headaches”

Q: How do you answer critics who think that your generation, with Tim Burton, the Coen brothers, or even an older person like David Lynch is just mak­ing borrowed, post-modern, self-reflexive art with no connection to reality, just a kind of formalist game?

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Quentin Tarantino: I’m never bothered that people say I don’t make films “from life” and that I have “nothing to say.” I don’t try to say anything but to create char­acters and to tell stories out of which meaning can appear. What’s more, I think I make films about life since I make films about me, about what interests me.

The only artistic training I had was as an actor. An actor has a very dif­ferent aesthetic conception from a director or a writer. He uses what works. Without betraying the truth of my style, my rhythm or voice, when I saw something I liked in Marlon Brando or Michael Caine, I’d use it in my own acting. Actors work like this: they steal from others and make it part of themselves.

I don’t consider myself just as a director, but as a movie man who has the whole treasure of the movies to choose from and can take whatever gems I like, twist them around, give them new form, bring things together that have never been matched up before. But that should never become referential to the point of stopping the movement of the film. My first concern is to tell a story that will be dramatically captivating. What counts is that the story works and that viewers will be caught up in my film. Then movie buffs can find additional pleasure in getting whatever allusions there are.

But I never try for an exact copy or a precise quote or a specific refer­ence. Carbon copies give me headaches. I like mixing things up: for example that golden watch story begins in the spirit of Body and Soul and then unexpectedly ends up in the climate of Deliverance. What I most enjoy are space-time distortions, jumps from one world to another. You don’t need to know the two films to appreciate the story of the watch, but if you know them it’s even more surprising and fun.

Sometimes I have an idea for a film which I carry around in my head for five or six years, without writing the scenario, since the right moment hasn’t hit. But when I sit down to write, everything that’s going on in my personal life finds a place in the film. When I’ve finished a scenario, I’m always astonished by what it reveals about me. It’s as if I were disclosing a bunch of personal secrets, even though people don’t notice, and I don’t really care if they notice or not!

Again, if an actor is driving to the theater or to a film set and hits a dog, like Irene Jacob did in Red, well, it’s going to affect the acting, no matter how well the scene has been prepared. What happened is going to show up on stage or on the screen. Anyone able to keep strictly to what had been planned isn’t really creative. At least that’s how I think about my work. Whatever happens to me, even if it’s completely unrelated to the subject I’m doing, will find its way into the scenes I’m shooting, because I want my characters’ hearts to really beat.

If you really knew me, you would be surprised by how much my films talk about me.

Source : http://scrapsfromtheloft.com/2016/05/20/tarantino-interview-cannes-1994/

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James Benning : “when I see young students who can’t let go of their cellphones, constantly having to text and do that, that worries me”

Q : Do you think digital technology is making the world increasingly distractable?

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image source : internet

James: I mean… the whole computerised world now is somewhat distressing with cellphones. People constantly have to check things, and then they just check for a second and leave. It’s just all so weird to me; it’s a weird world that we’re in.

But there are people who are realising that too, and are going in the opposite direction… Some people are learning how to work with technology so it doesn’t completely destroy their autonomy. Like, for me, I’ve been thinking very much about the computer and what [Unabomber Ted] Kaczynski’s written about technology, and that is that the computer offers me complete autonomy in my work; I don’t need a lab, I can do these collages, all this stuff by myself. Sometimes I need some help from a few technicians, but basically it’s not like I have to buy things to make a film any more. It’s all available once I have this equipment.

But because of that I can work constantly now, because it doesn’t cost. All of a sudden maybe the more important autonomy of control, of what your life is about, has gone. Now I’m the slave to this machine, working and concentrating on what I want to do. Now I like that, but at the same time I’m not sure it’s healthy. It’s something one has to negotiate.

And when I see young students who can’t let go of their cellphones, constantly having to text and do that, that worries me… it’s so seductive. A lot of it’s just nonsense, right, what’s going on with those things? Or maybe they have important things to text, but I doubt it.

Source : http://www.bfi.org.uk/news-opinion/sight-sound-magazine/interviews/sight-sound-interview-james-benning

James Benning (born 1942) is an independent filmmaker from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Over the course of his 40-year career Benning has made over twenty-five feature-length films that have shown in many different venues across the world.

Asghar Farhadi :” I want audiences to put themselves in the shoes of characters who have done something wrong”

Q: Going off of that point about morality, there are a few characters in The Salesman who, in any other film, might be completely vilified or else deprived of the detail and humanity that other characters are afforded. How important is it to you that we feel empathy even for the characters who do despicable things in your movies?

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IMAGE SOURCE : internet

AF: This is the most important goal that I have in my films. I was talking with my friends and I told them, “If you want to write something on my grave, it should be ‘empathy.’” I’m always working towards empathy, even with the characters who do wrong. Audiences usually put themselves in the shoes of the good characters. They never put themselves in the shoes of the person who has done something wrong. And there is no challenge when you put yourselves in the shoes of the good people. The films where characters are heroic and do lots of great things are satisfying and comfortable to audiences. But I want audiences to put themselves in the shoes of characters who have done something wrong. In order to do that, I have to create empathy for the character. And [the audience] can then ask themselves, if I were in his shoes would I do the same thing or not? And if I were to do that, what decisions would I make after that? This is kind of an excuse for the audience to make self-realizations. For example, in About Elly, the audience has to ask themselves, If I was one of those people who went on the trip, would I lie to the fiancé as well and say we didn’t know [Elly] had a fiancé? Could I lie like them or not?

Source : http://reverseshot.org/interviews/entry/2306/farhadi

Create from your own experience: Michael Haneke

INTERVIEWER
But would you say that drawing from one’s own experience and background is always good—or even necessary?
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HANEKE
I’ve never seen good results from people trying to speak about things they don’t know firsthand. They will talk about Afghanistan, about children in Africa, but in the end they only know what they’ve seen on TV or read in the newspaper. And yet they pretend—even to themselves—that they know what they’re saying. But that’s bullshit. I’m quite convinced that I don’t know anything except for what is going on around me, what I can see and perceive every day, and what I have experienced in my life so far. These are the only things I can rely on. Anything else is merely the pretense of knowledge with no depth. Of course, I don’t just write about things precisely as they have happened to me—some have and some haven’t. But at least I try to invent stories with which I can personally identify.