Fellini is essentially a small-town boy who’s never really come to Rome. He’s still dreaming about it. And we should all be very grateful for those dreams. In a way, he’s still standing outside looking in through the gates. The force of La Dolce Vita comes from its provincial innocence. It’s so totally invented.
Welles: Among those whom I would call ‘younger generation’ Kubrick appears to me to be a giant.
Interviewer: But, for example, The Killing was more or less a copy of The Ashphalt Jungle?
Welles: Yes, but The Killing was better. The problem of imitation leaves me indifferent, above all if the imitator succeeds in surpassing the model . . . What I see in him is a talent not possessed by the great directors of the generation immediately preceding his . . . Perhaps this is because his temperament comes closer to mine. - from a 60's interview in Cahiers du Cinéma
“Keaton was beyond all praise,” Orson Welles said years ago, “a very great artist, and one of the most beautiful men I ever saw on the screen. He was also a superb director. In the last analysis, nobody came near him…I wish I’d known him better than I did. A tremendously nice person, you know, but also a man of secrets. I can’t even imagine what they were.” —Peter Bogdonovich, This is Orson Welles
We talked with each other and agreed that a movie should not attempt to explain anything. Cinema is not a suitable medium for explanation. Those who view it must be left free to sense its content. It should be open to a variety of interpretations. However, Tarkovsky absolutely never explains, he gives no explanation at all. His thoroughness is incredible...
I love all of Tarkovsky's films. I love his personality and all his works. Every cut from his films is a marvelous image in itself. But the finished image is nothing more than the imperfect accomplishment of his idea. His ideas are only realized in part. And he had to make do with it. (source)
The quiet but deep observation, understanding and love of the human race which are characteristic of all of his films, have impressed me greatly... Not to have seen the cinema of Ray means existing in the world without seeing the sun or the moon.
You have most certainly received enough acclaim and success throughout the world to make this note quite unnecessary. But for whatever it's worth, I should like to add my praise and gratitude as a fellow director for the unearthly and brilliant contribution you have made to the world by your films (I have never been in Sweden and have therefore never had the pleasure of seeing your theater work). Your vision of life has moved me deeply, much more deeply than I have ever been moved by any films. I believe you are the greatest film-maker at work today. Beyond that, allow me to say you are unsurpassed by anyone in the creation of mood and atmosphere, the subtlety of performance, the avoidance of the obvious, the truthfullness and completeness of characterization. To this one must also add everything else that goes into the making of a film. I believe you are blessed with wonderfull actors. Max von Sydow and Ingrid Thulin live vividly in my memory, and there are many others in your acting company whose names escape me. I wish you and all of them the very best of luck, and I shall look forward with eagerness to each of your films.
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)
I am only interested in the views of two people: one is called Bresson and one called Bergman. (source)
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
My discovery of Tarkovsky's first film was like a miracle.
Suddenly, I found myself standing at the door of a room the keys of which had, until then, never been given to me. It was a room I had always wanted to enter and where he was moving freely and fully at ease.
I felt encouraged and stimulated: someone was expressing what I had always wanted to say without knowing how.
Tarkovsky is for me the greatest, the one who invented a new language, true to the nature of film, as it captures life as a reflection, life as a dream. (source)
His love affair with moving pictures was a profound and lasting one, and you can feel the intensity of it in his criticism, even in his acting. And most of all, in his films. Truffaut's passion for cinema, the desire that it stirred in him, animates every movie he ever made, every scene, every shot...
Truffaut carried that sense of history into his moviemaking. Back in the early and mid-'60s, people were always talking about how this movie "quoted" from that older movie, but what almost no one talked about was why the quote was there, what it did or didn't do for the movie, what it meant emotionally to the picture as a whole. In Truffaut, you could feel the awareness of film history behind the camera, but you could also see that every single choice he made was grounded in the emotional reality of the picture...
Theo Angelopoulos is a masterful filmmaker. He really understands how to control the frame. There are sequences in his work—the wedding scene in The Suspended Step of the Stork; the rape scene in Landscape in the Mist; or any given scene in The Traveling Players—where the slightest movement, the slightest change in distance, sends reverberations through the film and through the viewer. The total effect is hypnotic, sweeping, and profoundly emotional. His sense of control is almost otherworldly.
Hitchcock loves to be misunderstood, because he has based his whole life around misunderstandings.
You can listen to the Hitchcock Truffaut interviews here.
In some of my films I’ve tried to follow a single character simply and honestly in an almost documentary manner, and I owe this method to Rossellini. Aside from Vigo, Rossellini is the only filmmaker who has filmed adolescence without sentimentality and The 400 Blows owes a great deal to Germany Year Zero. (The Films in My Life)
What was Vigo’s secret? Probably he lived more intensely than most of us. Filmmaking is awkward because of the disjointed nature of the work. You shoot five to fifteen seconds and then stop for an hour. On the film set there is seldom the opportunity for the concentrated intensity a writer like Henry Miller might have enjoyed at his desk. By the time he had written twenty pages, a kind of fever possessed him, carried him away; it could be tremendous, even sublime. Vigo seems to have worked continuously in this state of trance, without ever losing his clearheadedness. (1970)
...for five years, in my opinion, [Alfred Hitchcock] really was the master of the universe. More than Hitler, more than Napoleon. He had a control of the public that no one else had. - (interview with Jonathan Rosenbaum)
In the Bergman aesthetic, those shots of lakes, forests, grass, clouds, the deliberately unusual camera angles, the elaborately careful back-lighting, are no longer mere showing-off or technical trickery: on the contrary, they are integrated into the psychology of the characters at the precise instant when Bergman wants to evoke an equally precise feeling: for instance, Monika's pleasure is conveyed in her journey by boat through an awakening Stockholm, and her weariness by reversing the journey through a Stockholm settling down to sleep.
Eternity at the Service of the Instantaneous
At the precise instant. Bergman, in effect, is the film-maker of the instant. Each of his films is born of the hero's reflection on the present moment, and deepens that reflection by a sort of dislocation of time–rather in the manner of Proust but more powerfully, as though Proust were multiplied by both Joyce and Rousseau–to become a vast, limitless meditation upon the instantaneous. An Ingmar Bergman film is, if you like, one twenty-fourth of a second metamorphosed and expanded over an hour and a half. It is the world between two blinks of the eyelids, the sadness between two heart-beats, the gaiety between two handclaps. - Jean-Luc Godard, Cahiers du Cinéma, July 1958
... It is through this elegant quietness that Ozu navigates his slight stories around the expected landmarks of dramatic curves and heightened emotions. Nothing is forced. All that is left on screen are the smallest details of human nature and interaction, delivered through a lens that is delicate, observational, reductive, and pure. (source)