Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Michael Haneke on cinema and the centipede

When in the film Lumiere and Company, Michael Haneke was asked, "Why do you film?" His reply was,

"Never aska a centipeded why it walks or it will stumble."

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Jacques Rivette's shortest film.

In 1995, Jacques Rivette was one of forty directors who contributed a segment entitled Une Aventure de Ninon to the film Lumière and Company. Each director contributed a 52-second segment shot with an original Lumiere cinematograph. the following is a transcription of the subtitles of Rivette's comments on completion of his short.

Rivette: It's too short. Usually we have to cut, but here it needs to be longer.Let's call Martine to tell her.

Unidentified: It's your shortest film.

Rivette: Precisely, it's too short. I can't make a long enough film.

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Sunday, December 17, 2006

Slawomir Idziak on Kieslowski and the documentary

from the Criterion DVD od Krystof Kieslowski's The Double Life of Veronique, cinematographer Slawomir Idziak on Kieslowski.

at 1:15 of the interview

...since he [Kieslowski] only made documentaries. He actually despised the world of feature films. He clearly stressed this point in all his early manifestos, that this was a world of artifice and deception, and that the true cinema was documentary film. He wrote a screenplay whose action took place in one night called Pedestrian Subway, about a girl who escapes from a small town and works as a window dresser. We were shooting by the book like a regular feature film, shot, countershot, master shot, etc. Film labs in Poland then functioned very poorly, so the rushes for the shoot, which took a week, arrived just a day before the end of filming. He completely broke up when he saw them, saying they were terrible. Then I suggested, "Let's do it the way documentaries are made. let's redo it from the beginning but without any setup. I'll just keep changing film cassettes and following the actors around, filming everything." Later, in the editing room, he didn't use the documentary version exclusively. He combined both versions and I think that was the beginning of transferring his documentary experience to a feature film and an attempt at his own language, his own way of expression


Composer Zbigniew Priesner speaks about Krystof Kieslowski and Van Den Budenmayer

From the interview with the composer Zbigniew Priesner on the Criterion DVD release of Krystof Kieslowski's The Double Life of Veronique.

at 3:15

He [Kieslowski] really did not have much understanding of music. Let me rephrase that. He simply couldn't sing. when he sang Jingle Bells, it sounded like Silent Night. But he understood the function of music in movies.


at 14:40

The character of the composer Van Den Budenmayer in Krystof's films is reminiscent of the fictional character of Mr. Cogito in Zbigniew Herbert's work. It began as pure coincidence. In Decalogue IX, Krystof wanted to use some Mahler songs that had never been recorded in Poland. Recording them would cost a fortune. So I said, "I'll write something different. If it doesn't work you'll just have to buy the rights to some Mahler." So I wrote some very lousy music, we say it's not me, it's Van Den Budenmayer. If it's good, then we say it's me. We both liked Holland -- it's a beautiful country -- and we decided that Van Den Budenmayer was a Dutch name. Later, when the Decalogue became well-known, Krystof started receiving letters from various people, one was from the Larousse encyclopedia, and it said, "We're publishing a new edition of our Encyclopedia of Music. you must tell us about this Mr. Van Den Budenmayer. Being a serious encyclopedia, we can not be ignorant on this matter." So in The Double Life of Veronique, we decided to give dates for his birth and death. His date of birth is the same as mine, only 200 years earlier. and then it all broke loose. Of Course, there were other encyclopedias. I returned to Poland once after a few years absence. I was then living in Paris, making films with Kieslowski. and I read in the papers that I was being sued in Paris by the Van Den Budenmayer heirs for stealing his music.


Monday, December 11, 2006

Another anecdote from Jesse Livermore's "Reminiscences Of a Stock Operator"

Another anecdote from Jesse Livermore -- Wall Street's "boy plunger" of the first decade of the 20th century. From his fictionalized autobiography as told to Edwin Lefevre REMINISCENCES OF A STOCK OPERATOR.

You remember Dickson G. Watts' story about the man who was so nervous that a friend asked him what was the matter.
"I can't sleep," answered the nervous one.
"Why not?" asked the friend.
"I am carrying so much cotton that I can't sleep thinking about it. It is wearing me out. What can I do?"
"Sell down to the sleeping point," answered the friend.

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Sunday, December 10, 2006

some ideas from Krystof Kieslowski

From the documentary Kieslwski-Dialogue which is on Disc 2 of the Criterion DVD release of La Double vie de Véronique (The Double Life of Veronique).

at 7:40 into the documentary -- Kieslowski speaking of Krystof Piesiewicz who colloborrated with him on this film and many others

Piesewicz can't write but he knows how to tell a story. And he's quite good at thinking.

at 24:40

You have to break through the barrier of shame and the feeling that you musn't be weak.

at 50:25

I made a documentary once entitled Talking Heads. I asked people two questions: "Who are you?" and "What do you want?" Afterwards, I asked myself those questions. I realized I didn't have any answers.


Sunday, December 03, 2006

Silvano Agosti's free lunch

Silvano Agosti who edited Marco Bellocchio's film  I Pugni in tasca -- Fists in the Pocket at  about 3 minutes into the special documentary A Need for Change which is an added feature on the Criterion DVD release of that film.

We (he and Marco Bellocchio, the director of I Pugni in tasca -- Fists in the Pocket) were classmates at the Centro Sperimentale where Marco was one year ahead of me studying acting. I had a funny reason for going there. It wasn’t because I wanted to go to film school but because I heard you could eat there for free. I thought, “Imagine that: free food everyday.”

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Saturday, December 02, 2006

Jesse Livermore on dueling and trading stocks

Jesse Lauriston Livermore was the legendary "boy plunger" of Wall Street. In the first four decades of the 20th century he made and lost a few fortunes. He was blamed for the Black Thursday crash in October 1929 by the New York Times on the front page of its next Sunday edition. His fictionalized autobiography entitled "Reminiscences of a Stock Trader" as told to Edwin Lefevre was published in 1923 and is still in print today. This bit of advice is from that book.

It is like the old story of the man who was going to fight a duel the next day.His second asked him, "Are you a good shot?"
"Well," said the duelist, "I can snap the stem of a wineglass at twenty paces," and he looked modest.
"That's all very well," said the unimpressed second. "But can you snap the stem of the wineglass while the wineglass is pointing a loaded pistol straight at your heart?"

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