10 Favorite Directors’ Quotes Relay Race

Another relay race has been circulating around, similar to the Best Actors and Actress Relay Race I did a few months ago. This time it’s David from Taste of Cinema who started the relay race to share some of our favorite quotes from filmmakers. Thank you John @ John Likes Movies for tagging me!

Here’s David’s explanation of the relay race:
People love wisdom from great minds. As a cinephile, I prefer director quotes more than words from any other group of people in the world. Their thoughts on cinema not only provide insights into a deep understanding of cinema, but also open the window to their own films, their genres, and their filmmaking methods, thus the need to receive more exposure as their films did.

The rules have been altered, but basically the one rule is simple: Replace one director and their respective quote with one of your own.

Here’s who’s participated in the Relay Race so far:

Chris at Movies And Songs 365
Alex at And So It Begins…
Josh from The Cinematic Spectacle
Stephanie at On Page and Screen


And here are the quotes as it stands now…

“I steal from every single movie ever made. I love it – if my work has anything it’s that I’m taking this from this and that from that and mixing them together. If people don’t like that, then tough titty, don’t go and see it, all right? I steal from everything. Great artists steal; they don’t do homages.”Quentin Tarantino

“Unlike all the other art forms, film is able to seize and render the passage of time, to stop it, almost to possess it in infinity. I’d say that film is the sculpting of time.” – Andrei Tarkovsky

“Why make a movie about something one understands completely? I make movies about things I do not understand, but wish to.” – Seijun Suzuki

“I don’t like the idea of ‘understanding’ a film. I don’t believe that rational understanding is an essential element in the reception of any work of art. Either a film has something to say to you or it hasn’t. If you are moved by it, you don’t need it explained to you. If not, no explanation can make you moved by it.”Federico Fellini

“When I make a film, I never stop uncovering mysteries, making discoveries. When I’m writing, filming, editing, even doing promotional work, I discover new things about the film, about myself, and about others. That is what I’m subconsciously looking for when shooting a film: to glimpse the enigmas of life, even if I don’t resolve them, but at least to uncover them. Cinema is curiosity in the most intense meaning of the word.”Pedro Almodovar

“All my movies are about strange worlds that you can’t go into unless you build them and film them. That’s what’s so important about film to me. I just like going into strange worlds.”David Lynch

“You make films to give people something, to transport them somewhere else, and it doesn’t matter if you transport them to a world of intuition or a world of intellect…The realm of superstitions, fortune-telling, presentiments, intuition, dreams, all this is the inner life of a human being, and all this is the hardest thing to film… I’ve been trying to get there from the beginning. I’m somebody who doesn’t know, somebody who’s searching.”Krzysztof Kieslowski

“I wonder whether my bleak-o-meter is set differently from other people’s. I have such passion for what I do that I can’t see it as bleak. When people use that word, or “grim” or “gritty,” I just think, “Oh, come on, look a bit deeper.” My films don’t give you an easy ride. I can see that. The sense I get is that people have quite a physical experience with them. They feel afterwards that they’ve really been through something.”Andrea Arnold

“Truth is hard to tell! And you have to be willing to be criticized for it.”Lee Daniels

“A story should have a beginning, a middle and an end… but not necessarily in that order.” 
Jean-Luc Godard

I’m removing…

There are some directors here I’m not familiar with, but I really like what they had to say so I wouldn’t remove their quotes simply because I haven’t seen any of their films. So I chose the quote that I don’t find as interesting as others, so it’s not a reflection of how I feel about said director. So that said, I bid adieu to…

Francis Ford Coppola 

“An essential element of any art is risk. If you don’t take a risk then how are you going to make something really beautiful, that hasn’t been seen before?”

My addition:

Christopher Nolan

“Every film should have its own world, a logic and feel to it that expands beyond the exact image that the audience is seeing.” 

I choose to go with a contemporary director whose complete feature films I have seen, including his first feature film shot on a shoe-string budget Following. He’s one of my personal favorites and I think the British auteurs is one of the greatest filmmakers working today. I like that quote because he lives up to that concept with his films, they’re cerebral, imaginative and has that sense of wonderment. There’s another quote of his I like where he said that film is first and foremost entertainment, but that it can be both serious and intellectually stimulating. His films definitely has those qualities.

Ok, now the easy part:

I’d like to tag my friend Keith @ Keith and the Movies whose phenomenal blog is one of my favorites. Take it away, Keith!


Well, what are your thoughts on these quotes and my pick in particular?

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37 thoughts on “10 Favorite Directors’ Quotes Relay Race

  1. Once I had that tiny, little idea, I could see the whole thing. It was the easiest script for me to write. It’s like that terrible thing they say about it writing itself.
    Denys Arcand

  2. stellamarie15

    We are still discussing what the opening sequence in Persona might mean and the wealth of possibilities that can be read into this piece of work. I believe that’s why it endures.
    Atom Egoyan

  3. stellamarie15

    I don’t know. I’m the worst possible writer. I have no method. I’ve never learned it. I never attended one course in scriptwriting
    Denys Arcand

    1. Interesting quotes here Stella, that’s quite a brave revelation from Arcand, but I suppose as long as he knows how to direct, it’s ok that he can’t write.

  4. Ted S.

    My favorite is QT’s quote, he’s honest about his work, unlike some directors in Hollywood today where they considered their films “original”, even though they stole elements from every other well known directors in the past. I don’t mind if a director copied other people’s work but make it your own version and don’t try to say your work is “original”.

    I like Nolan’s quote too, he knows how to balance the art and entertainment in his films. Another great quote from a director who’s honest about his work is this one from from David Fincher: “I don’t know how much movies should entertain. I’m interested in movies that scar.”

    1. Yeah that’s a good one from QT, even though he ‘steals’ from other filmmakers he’s also got style to make it his own.

      As for Fincher, well I don’t know if I always like ‘movies that scar.’ Once in a while is fine but I know some of his movies are just too dark for me.

      1. Ted S.

        Yeah that’s why I love his quote, he’s honest about what kind of films he makes and most of them are dark and violent and it tends to scar the audience. I remember the first time I saw Se7en, I sort of had nightmares and afraid someone might copy what the killer did in the film.

  5. Handsdown my favorite director’s quotes are by Michael Curtiz. Who? Casablanca?

    His grasp of the English language (he was Hungarian) made him the subject of many long standing Hollywood anecdotes. He once berated David Niven on set declaring: “You think you know f*ck everything and I know f*ck nothing. Well let me tell you, I know f*ck all!!”

    Another time he was chewing out a prop man for neglecting to do a job assigned to him, and yelled, “Next time I send a damn fool, I go myself!”

    To a group of extras he gave this confusing command:
    “Separate together in a bunch.”

    He dismissed one extra by saying, “More to your right. More. More. Now you are out of the scene. Go home”.

    He expressed dissatisfaction with a child actor by remarking scathingly: “By the time I was your age, I was fifteen.”

    “Who cares about character? I make it go so fast nobody notices”.

    “Don’t talk to me when I’m interrupting.”

    “I put all the art into my pictures I think the audience can stand.”

    They’re called Curtizisms. The stuff of Hollywood legend. But seriously my favorite quote is by Akira Kurosawa. He recieved an honorary Oscar presented by Spielberg and Lucas back in ’89. The masterful director uttered these humble words in his native language:

    “I am very deeply honored to receive such a wonderful prize, but I have to ask whether I really deserve it. I’m a little worried, because I don’t feel that I understand cinema yet. I really don’t feel that I have yet grasped the essence of cinema. Cinema is a marvelous thing, but to grasp its true essence is very, very difficult. But what I promise you is that from now on I will work as hard as I can at making movies and maybe by following this path I will achieve an understanding of the true essence of cinema and earn this award. Thank you.”

    Not exactly the “I’m the king of the world!” speech, is it? LoL. Considered the best by many a director (Coppola, Scorsese, Bertolucci, Altman, Spielberg and yes… Lucas). Check out this video to see just how far reaching his influence really was:

    1. Ahah, those Curtizisms are a hoot, Dave, thanks for sharing. They definitely made me laugh. I love the humility of Kurosawa, that’s inspiring to see that someone THAT talented isn’t full of himself. But generally people from that culture aren’t going to go ‘king of the world’ a la James Cameron.

  6. Nicely chosen quote,Ruth.Nolan is my top 3 directors working today,and this quote speaks everything he did with his cinema,I like how his films challenge our intelligence and imaginations.

    1. Hi David, welcome to FC! Nice idea for a relay race here and I’m certainly thrilled that you are a Nolan fan. I like that quote as he lives up to it, so it’s not just talk.

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  8. Hi Ruth, great addition…I enjoyed reading the previous quotes but I have so much respect for Nolan. Quick correction though…Following isn’t a short film, his notable short film is Doodlebug.

  9. I like your pick on Nolan’s quote Ruth 🙂 …it’s better than Coppola’s.

    But…out of all…my fav is this one:

    “Why make a movie about something one understands completely? I make movies about things I do not understand, but wish to.” – Seijun Suzuki

    1. Ahah, you knew me to well! I just thought we should keep the balance of classic and contemporary directors on the list. I was actually going to go with Spielberg but I like Nolan’s quote better.

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