Lost in the Movies: Visions of Filmmaking: 2 quotes from Truffaut & Godard

Visions of Filmmaking: 2 quotes from Truffaut & Godard

 Overheard in the documentary Two in the Wave (2010)

"Rosselini's strength is to completely ignore filmmaking as a technical issue, it just doesn't exist. When he recounts a scenario, he describes impossible things. He speaks about the British army entering Orleans. One thinks: lots of extras. Then you see Joan of Arc, and ten cardboard soldiers entering a small model. It's fantastic because, having to renounce things in order to film, it's this sum of renunciations that created a masterpiece." - François Truffaut

"In Scarface, when Paul Muni takes his machine gun, we feel that he might easily have done something else. I like to convey this. Convey it strongly enough to give the feeling that 5 minutes before, Seberg wouldn't have betrayed Belmondo. She wouldn't have turned him in, or if she'd bumped into somebody, other things would've happened and we'd have a different film. Like, if somebody gets run over in the street. Had he crossed 5 minutes later, he'd be okay."


The Taxi Driver said...

Ah I miss those days when film critics were people who actually knew what went into making films and thinking about films in a way that pushed new films into new places. That just doesn't happen enough anymore as criticism has been reduced to not much more than soundbites.

Joel Bocko said...

While I wouldn't put it so harshly - and I do think the internet opens up new possibilities (including video essays, which take Godard's idea of "the best way to criticize a film is to make another film" to its logical conclusion) - there was definitely a shift from the Cahiers crowd and their contemporaries (many of whom were not filmmakers themselves, but still often thought like them if that makes sense).

I think this is down to two reasons, primarily: on the one hand, the dumbing-down of criticism - as you put it "reduced to soundbites" - for the mass audience and on the other hand, the over-academization (if that's even a word!) of more in-depth "film studies" which led to a distancing of serious criticism from the more pragmatic worlds of journalists and filmmakers, and resulted in less vivid and exciting theories or explorations.

Full disclosure - I am stealing these ideas from David Bordwell, who had a wonderful essay on the subject! It was his review of the documentary "For the Love of Movies" (whose director I interviewed on this site, included in my ongoing Anniversary Archive collection below...). Here it is:


Shubhajit said...

I'd watched Two in the Wave sometime back, and I'd reasonably liked it. The complex relationship between two renowned filmmakers who both stormed into world cinema at roundabout the same time, made for an interesting topic. And the two comments that you've mentioned - well, what else one can say but that they're terrific observations.

Joel Bocko said...

I enjoyed watching it but wished they'd spent more time on the relationship between them rather than focusing on the separate careers.

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