There are few people of genius in the cinema; look at Bresson, Mizoguchi, Dovzhenko, Paradjanov, Bunuel: not one of them could be confused with anyone else. An artist of that calibre follows one straight line, albeit at great cost; not without weakness or even, indeed, occasionally being farfetched; but always in the name of the one idea, the one conception. – Andrei Tarkovsky, Sculpting in Time
What is Bresson's genre? He doesn't have one. Bresson is Bresson. He is a genre in himself. Antonioni, Fellini, Bergman, Kurosawa, Dovzhenko, Vigo, Mizoguchi, Bunuel - each is identified with himself. The very concept of genre is as cold as the tomb. And is Chaplin - comedy? No: he is Chaplin, pure and simple; a unique phenomenon, never to be repeated. – Andrei Tarkovsky, Sculpting in Time
There are two basic categories of film directors. One consists of those who seek to imitate the world in which they live, the other of those who seek to create their own world. The second category contains the poets of cinema, Bresson, Dovzenko, Mizoguchi, Bergman, Buñuel and Kurosawa, the cinema's most important names. The work of these film-makers is difficult to distribute: it reflects their inner aspirations, and this always runs counter to public taste. This does not mean that the film-makers don't want to be understood by their audience. But rather that they themselves try to pick up on and understand the inner feelings of the audience. - Andrei Tarkovsky
Bresson is perhaps the only man in the cinema to have achieved the perfect fusion of the finished work with a concept theoretically formulated beforehand. I know of no other artist as consistent as he is in this respect. His guiding principle was the elimination of what is known as expressiveness, in the sense that he wanted to do away with the frontier between the image and actual life; that is, to render life itself graphic and expressive. No special feeding in of material, nothing laboured, nothing that smacks of deliberate generalisation. - Sculpting in Time by Andrei Tarkovsky (taken from TSPDT)
Robert Bresson is for me an example of a real and genuine film-maker... He obeys only certain higher, objective laws of Art.... Bresson is the only person who remained himself and survived all the pressures brought by fame. (source)
Bresson has always astonished me and attracted me with his ascetics. It seems to me that he is the only director in the world, that has achieved absolute simplicity in cinema. As it was achieved in music by Bach, in art by Leonardo da Vinci... Tolstoy achieved it as a writer...for me he`s always been an example of ingenious simplicity.
Always with huge gratitude and pleasure I remember the films of Sergei Parajanov which I love very much. His way of thinking, his paradoxical, poetical . . . ability to love the beauty and the ability to be absolutely free within his own vision.
Parajanov was influenced by Tarkovsky's work, and they became friends who influenced each other's work.
When Parajanov was jailed, Tarkovsky wrote to him
You understand — everyone in Moscow is stunned by your epic experience. It's strange how before we allow ourselves to take care of and love one another, we so typically wait for untold cataclysms to occur first. And here, in truth, "no prophet is accepted in his own country."
The only thing I'm sure of is your heroism which is your salvation. After all, you are a very talented man (and that's not saying enough!) And talented people are strong.
Let all that's best stay within your soul and lend you strength now.
I am embracing you, dear friend! (source)
Antonioni reportedly gave Tarkovsky a camera, and you can see his pictures here.
Antonioni has made a strong impression on me with his films, especially with adventures... I realised then, watching this film, that "action", the meaning of action in cinema is rather conditional. There is practically no action going on in Antonioni’s films. And that is the meaning of “action” in Antonioni films. More precisely, in those Antonioni films that I like the most.
I like Fellini for his kindness, for his love of people, for his, let`s say, simplicity and intimate intonation. If you would like to know - not for popularity, but rather for his humanity. I value him tremendously.
I remember Vigo with tenderness and thankfulness, who, in my opinion, is the father of modern French cinema.
An excessively frank and image-laden mis-en-scène with its subtext open for all to see is part of a broader phenomenon when a shot is subordinated to the requirements of literary discourse or obvious imagery. In one of the most ageless films L'Atalante by Jean Vigo there is an episode where the newlyweds, a girl and a young sailor, walk from the church to a barge . To the sound of a trivial accordion they walk around three large hayricks, now disappearing (and we see a deserted landscape), now appearing anew. What is this? A ritual, a dance of fertility? No, the episode is significant not for a literary retelling, not in its symbolism, not in its visual metaphoricity, but in its concrete saturated existence. We see a form filled with feeling.
I think that such concepts as intellectual cinema and intellectual montage have no future... Cinema will remain an emotional area and one must film what one has experienced, felt, suffered, and not what one constructs. (source)