Monday, April 30, 2007

Andre Kertesz quotes

transcribed from "Masters of Photography. André Kertész" [videorecording] West Long Branch, NJ : Kultur, 2006.

The narrator says quoting Kertesz (at 15:33 into the film) "In my own work I am an amateur", he once told a reporter. "And I intend to remain one. I avoid virtuosity. When I have found the subject which interests me, I leave for the lens the responsibility for recording the image, faithfully."

Kertesz himself speaking (at 24:43) "I never know what I am doing. I am going out without thinking photographing. I am going around. . .see something that will give me the idea. I do."


Thursday, April 19, 2007

Alain Renoir on his father,(Jean) Renoir

Alain Renoir was the son of the film director Jean Renoir. In the late 1930s while still a teenager Alain Renoir worked as an assistant cameraman for his father on The Rules of the Game and The Human Beast. He left for the United States during World War II and he became a professor of English at the University of California -- Berkeley. These are transcription from an interview he gave in 2003 for the Criterion DVD of The Rules of the Game.

from 11:00 to 13:35 in the interview.

"When the first World War broke out, my father was a career non-commissioned officer in the military, the French Calvary - the Dragoons. and some of the effect that he cavalry had upon him can be seen in his films. For instance, he repeated to me over and over again that in the cavalry their was no such thing as a white horse or a black horse -- it did not exist -- in the cavalry a white horse was a light gray horse and a black horse was a dark gray horse....Well, if you think for a second you can see that that applies to everything he did. You have nothing that is just straightforward and cut-and dried. People are always a little bit of this and a little bit of that."
"My father had a knack for getting people to do exactly what he wanted. Pretending for them and for himself that it was not the case. For instance, he would say to the actor, "This is wonderful, this is absolutely wonderful. But you know it may be fun to try something else. Never saying it was lousy. And eventually I knew damned well where it was going. It would be the same thing with his cameraman. He would say, "Oh this shot is wonderful. You know it might be interesting to try it in a slightly [inaudible]way". But he never told them that is what I want done."
"I will tell you an anecdote that for obvious reasons I will not give you the name. On one particular occasion, I had heard a certain actor spouting the movie and it was obviously totally wrong. Well that night I went back home and my father and I met at the door of the apartment and I said, "Oh dad, this guy I'll call him X said that-and-that. He completely doesn't understand the movie. I think you should tell him" And my father turned to me and said, "Don't you say a word to him. When an actor understands his part in a play or a movie, he can no longer play it."


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Acting with Marlon Brando

from Richard Shickel's biography of Elia Kazan. His fellow performers on acting with Marlon Brando in "A Streetcar Named Desire".

Kim Hunter
"It is," she admitted, "a tremendous experience to play in relationship to him; he yanks you inot his own sense of reality." Her example was the trunk scene, with Brando going through Blanche's clothes while Stella tries to protect them from his furious routings. "He had a different sort of attitude toward each of his belongings every night; sometimes he would lead me inot quite a fight with him, and other times I'd be seeing him as a silly boy. I got worn out after many months in the play, but I never got bored. . ." (page 180)

Jessica Tandy
"I can say I enjoyed acting with him sometimes and other times, God knows, I could have wrung his little neck." (page 179)

Karl Malden
"I learned to protect myself. I played off him. I let him do whatever he wanted to do and I'd go from there." (page 179)

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Fellini, on fumetti

In November of 1965, Cahiers du Cinema published a short interview with Federico Fellini on the subject of comic strips -- fumetti in Italian. Fellini had worked in comic strips before he began his film career. One revelation of the interview was that Fellini was a fan of "Charley Brown" and "B C". Among other things, Fellini had this to say,

The fumetti which borrow too freely from cinematic technique are for me the least beautiful, the least artistic.I remain sentimentally attached to the very simple, linear fumetti which are nearly always humorous. It was cinema which borrowed from them. Some settings of Chaplin, some characters, frame in a medium long shot, are truly borrowed from George McManus and his "Bringing up Father" and from the adventures of the "Katzenjammer Kids". The fumetti which merit popularity are those which inspired the cinema and not those which borrowed too skillfully from it

Cahiers du Cinema (Page 15 November 65)