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"Dwan was never afraid of melodrama, so often disdained for its contrivance, implausibility and heightened emotion; nor of farce, with its tendency to reduce characters to spastic puppets or wind-up toys. Dwan's skill at visually expressing relationships — the legacy of his nearly two decades making silent movies — cannot by itself salvage stories or characters that fail that test of engaging us; but when combined with his crisp narrative intelligence and detached yet compassionate eye for human behavior, it gives his best films an apparently effortless power to engross."
» 78
The whole effect is a Rand-esque, dream-like, dystopian feel. This is very much Curtis taking an auteur approach to his documentary — his creative personality is all over it and the effect is enthralling."
– from "All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace," review, The Telegraph, by Catherine Gee
by Julia Leyda
"I'm just always interested in the ways in which we are not free agents, that our desires, our instincts, our anger, our determination, our survival instincts all butt against social constraints and social learning that are really deep. It's not just a matter of changing your job or your lover."
by Sam Weisberg
"There was no movement! I was not part of a movement, I. Made. My. Own. Films. They. Were. Not. Part. Of. Any. Movement. You're incapable of understanding that, aren't you? I have to be in a category. First I'm in 'Andy Warhol films,' then I'm an 'independent.' I like good films that are worth watching, OK?"
by Jessica Hagemann
"Life is a continuity which does not begin at birth; it is split up by birth."
– Nandor Fodor
» 77
by Michael Blancato
"Wong shows that certain modernized countries have been able to flourish economically because they have embraced globalization, but with powerful emotional consequences for their people."
» 76
"Through his ability to improvise his own scenarios and engage others in their perambulations, Haas successfully negotiates the threat of circumstance that ensnared Pavel and, most always, wills out."
by Steven Handzo
"Mann's 1950 threesome — The Devil's Doorway, Winchester '73, The Furies — was the most auspicious quantum jump by an American director since John Ford's equivalent Americana triumvirate of 1939 (Stage Coach, Young Mr. Lincoln, Drums Along the Mohawk) lifted him into the major phase of his career. Yet Mann's achievements seem destined to remain unappreciated and the director himself obscure."
by Robert E. Smith
"The morally complex interrelationship of hero/villain, which is partially accountable for the remarkable intensity of his films, has at its roots the film noirs of the 1940s. The darker side of human nature, the interiority of these earlier, psychologically troubled characters, is the determining force in Mann's noirs. We see the director striving for the depth and complexity of characterization he ultimately achieved in the great films of the 1950s."
» 75
by Graham Daseler
"'You can't control life,' he tells us in that film. '"It doesn't wind up perfectly. Only art you can control. Art and masturbation.'"
» 74
by Mark Cresswell and Zulfia Karimova
"Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me. They possess and enjoy early, and it does something to them, makes them soft where we are hard, and cynical where we are trustful, in a way that, unless you were born rich, it is very difficult to understand. They think, deep in their hearts, that they are better than we are because we had to discover the compensations and refuges of life for ourselves. Even when they enter deep into our world or sink below us, they still think that they are better than we are." – F. Scott Fitzgerald, "The Rich Boy"
by Graham Daseler
"Huston once described his job to John Milius like this: 'You will confer with generals, you will dine at the table with kings, and you will sleep with titled women. All of this you will do while being dead broke. That's what being a director is.' Should we even feign surprise that when it came time to make The Bible he cast himself as the voice of the Almighty?
» 73
by Santiago Rubín de Celis
"For him, film was not only a profession but a mean of investigating cinema as a language, an investigation in which theory and film practice went hand in hand."
» 72
by Rob Smart
"These shoestring-budget shot-on-video works already demonstrate Atanes' characteristic gifts for composition and staging combined with a knack for finding bleakly evocative locations that reinforce his themes of power, oppression, exile or, entrapment and the dream of alternate realities where freedom might be possible."
by Joanne de Simone
"Together with his unobstructed panorama of those mean streets, and his long relationship with religion, Scorsese's character was shaped. It infused in him just the right amount of guilt to develop stories about the struggle between good and evil and that dangerous place in between — not bad enough for hell, not good enough for heaven."
by Michael Ward
"Frustrated by their unrequited love, their inability to capture their objet petit a, Wong's characters search desperately for appropriate supplements onto which they can displace their yearnings and desires."
» 71
by Jake Wilson
"The truth is that humour and terror play an equal part in his vision, which takes shape at the point where the two extremes meet."
by Pat Kewley
"His insects lie, cheat, steal, get drunk, have affairs, and fight with each other, occupying a harsh reality where bad choices have bad consequences and dead things stay dead."
by Mark Dow
"The wonderful paradox of the Wiseman film is that what allows the layered complexities to unfold is the leveling of everything we are shown."
» 69
by Philip Leers
"Tashlin's tenure at Warner Bros. did not provide him with a 'cartoon aesthetic' that could be applied, ready-made, to his features; rather, it allowed him to develop a feature filmmaking aesthetic through cartoons."
» 68
"[My film] is stylized and theatrical because the story is so telescoped — we have a life-and-death outcome played out over 20 actual minutes."
by Zsolt Gyori
"I had to allow time to let experience ferment inside me, and by then you forget whether what you went through was useful or not!"
» 67
"Arriaga's use of eroticism and semi-incest between respective children of the two illicit lovers is more than a pastiche; it's an organic outgrowth from an idea."
by Jason Klorfein
"My interest in creating visual worlds is what led me to both painting and film."
by Steve Johnson
On Art, Identity, Families, Fragmentation, Medication... and Fulfillment
» 66
"I'm shitting bricks, thinking he's onto me."
"One who knows how to, as they say, 'read' the images, can tell everything about me."
by Joseph McBride
» 65
"If the system is inimical to you, then you do whatever you can to alter your relationship to the system."
» 64
"In their blend of social satire, wry charm, imaginative physical gags, and ingenious aural as well as visual devices, Jacques Tati's movies have not been surpassed by those of any other postwar cinematic comic — French or otherwise."
by Michaël Abecassis
"This situation requires the filmmakers to be more creative in handling their mostly simple stories, which sometimes are so simple as to seem very modern and minimalistic."
"And then he said, 'It's like a Greek tragedy. The only problem is, I'm the subject.'"
» 63
by Michael Stern
"Each film is an elaborately choreographed movement around the problem of Jerry's uncertain relationship to the world around him."
By Angelos Koutsourakis
"The major point of convergence between Cassavetes and the Dogme movement is an oppositional realist form that blurs the boundaries between being and performing."
by Colm O'Shea
"Kaufman's homunculi schema is an implicit mockery of our bottomless ignorance of the nature of consciousness."
"If you could only see me as I really am, not as I appear but as I really am, as I am in my heart."
by Sukhmani Khorana
"I think it's really important for you, or anybody who wants to be a filmmaker, to really be honest with yourself."
"I think the most horrifying images are the ones you make yourself. Is there someone standing behind the door, or is it just two shoes standing there?"
» 62
"When I make movies, nothing is limited."
» 61
"For me it was like, How do I manipulate this kid so he can do this and he's comfortable?, which is all part of directing."
"I think Spielberg is the son from when Walt Disney fucked Minnie Mouse."
» 60
"Jancsó's controlled aesthetic acts as a dissonance that vibrates expressively with scenes of violence, torture, and shame."
by Felix von Boehm and Alexia Berkowicz
"A laugh and information!"
by Felix von Boehm
"I could somehow control my own story"
» 59
by Joseph Aisenberg
Paging crackle, energy, and wit. Come in, please.
» 58
"I know myself, and know that I can't really be separated from the land where I grew up."
"I wrecked Washington, and I wrecked New York, and San Francisco. That got rather tiresome after a while."
» 57
"Lazarus doesn't pathologize the locked-in gaze, he lets us feel it."
"What these Americans have could happen to us. And this is frightening."
On Black Book and his recent Hollywood defection
Autobiography sometimes trumps art in these uneven works
» 56
Give us another naked nurse and some more explosions!
"But I was accused of enjoying walking up and down the red carpet! Their rage knew no bounds."
» 55
"It's hard to be intuitive when you've got 42 crew behind you and they're like, 'Look, they don't know what to do here. They're panicking, look at them!'"
by Peter Rinaldi
"Not only is it personal — it's downright embarrassing."
"Like every other skilled fabulist on earth there would forever be a part of Stroheim that truly believed his own fantasies."
» 53
"LOST CHILD WANTED — Last seen with a little man with large flat feet and a small moustache"
"I didn't want to live under the shadow of other films. I want to exist on my own."
» 52
by David L. Pike
Scattered pleasures and frequent irritations
Pitch-black pessimism, unsparing emotional truths, and women on the verge
by Sean Fredric Edgecomb
"I don't live in a harem either, but well, God, I did for awhile."
» 51
"The more you're able to project your own world upon the work, the more power it has."
Cinema's supreme pictorialist surrenders to "the cop on the beat"
» 50
"Everybody has access to me, anyone who wants to see me."
"All of us have these hidden moments in our lives."
» 47
On Million Dollar Baby and a million-dollar career
This first-time director from Iran inspires cheers — and controversy
The master of improv gets his due courtesy of Criterion's extras-laden box set
"The football game where the chicken mascot runs around crazy with an erection was inspired by a story that someone told me."
» 46
George Bailey's wartime America looks eerily familiar
» 45
The first in an occasional series of articles on the life and work of Charlie Chaplin
In which Welles deflates expectations of greatness — and transcends them
» 44
Painter, photographer, sculptor, composer, musician — and here, seminal experimental filmmaker
Lubitsch wasn't the only one with a "touch"
by Peter Tonguette
On unfinished projects and friendship
» 42
A photo study of the Master's festishes — uh, motifs
» 40
by Richard Shaw
As Bergman goes, so go attitudes toward European art cinema
A weighty package of early films by the cinematic titan
» 36
"A brain full of razor blades and a heart full of chutzpah"
by Jane Mills
Has Tarantino gone underground or is he revving up to zap the box office with another mega hit?
by Peter Tonguette
In Lester's hands this superhero ain't nothin' but a sandwich
» 35
by Andrew J. Rausch
This movie master is still busy after all these years
» 34
What was it about this jovial, bearlike man that invoked the unending wrath of Russian censors?
Despite his godlike status as one of cinema's great artists and rebels, Luis Buñuel has only recently arrived on DVD
Kern's trashy teens fight and fuck their way through an incomprehensible world
by John Wisniewski
An interview with the man who created one of cinema's most enduring genres
Joseph McBride's new biography shows that this exceptionally powerful but also deeply flawed man hid behind his films and behind a carefully constructed identity that was always in danger of cracking, and sometimes did
» 33
by Craig Watts
Resurrection and renewal in postwar Japanese cinema, as seen through Tomu's 1955 masterpiece
Free-associating with a master of free cinema
» 32
by Joseph McBride
An affectionate look at one of cinema's still undervalued masters
Child's compulsive visual collages are visual and aural legerdemain
» 31
by Jillian Sandell
Hong Kong's master of balletic blood 'n bulletplay speaks!
» 30
Cocteau was a brilliant, witty, self-invented personality whose talents put him at the forefront of practically every "ism" of the century, from surrealism to modernism to dada.
A look at the rare Kurosawa films Drunken Angel, Scandal, and I Live in Fear
The director discusses Werckmeister Harmonies in this interview conducted at the Cannes Film Festival
Jordan's collage films are "moving" in two senses
The work of an avant-garde master now restored
» 29
The films of this Danish cineaste now appear among the most daring in cinema, with a visionary power that makes them unique
Russ Meyer talks about The Supervixens in this 1974 interview from the Bright Lights archives
Underground cinema's baddest bad boy
New York's pioneering campmeister
The master of Super-8 cinema takes us into the cave of the unknown, with extraordinary results
» 28
The two-dollar auteur who never made a dime from his films is now one of cinema's most treasured outlaws, and rightly so.
In spite of lavish praise by French critic Luc Moullet (he found in Ulmer's films "the great solitude of man without God") or American critic John Belton's (he called Ulmer "one of his era's bleakest artists and one of film noir's blackest visionaries"), Ulmer has remained little known.
The eminent Swiss documentarian looks at saints and sinners of history — without telling you which are which.
» 27
In a 1974 interview, the godfather of "New Hollywood" discusses his beloved low-budget exploitation company, New World Pictures.
Ecstasy for all! says the pied piper of queer experimental film.
» 26
by Toni Maraini
In an interview conducted after his last film, the Master speaks on life, art, and his strange dealings with the mysterious Carlos Castaneda.
Major figures in the American Underground film movement of the 'sixties, George and Mike Kuchar are the acknowledged pioneers of the camp/pop aesthetic that would influence practically all who came after them, from Warhol and Waters to Vadim and Lynch.
Riefenstahl, born in 1902, presents an extremely problematic case — an artist of unparalleled gifts, a woman in an industry dominated by men, one of the great formalists of the cinema on a par with Eisenstein or Welles whose two major works were funded by, and intended to glorify, the Nazis.
Between neorealism and the nouvelle vague stand Morris Engel and Ruth Orkin, whose independent feature Little Fugitive (1953) has been credited — by Francois Truffaut, who ought to know — with providing both spiritual imprimatur and nuts-and-bolts strategies for the French New Wave.
» 25
Martin Arnold's short black-and-white experimental films restore much of the novelty, terror, and humor of early cinema. Using elaborate optical and aural manipulations, he turns scenes from old Hollywood movies into hilariously weird, black-comic nightmares.
by Paul Freitag
The auteur of Petticoat Planet and Retro-Puppetmaster discusses his kinky leatherboy arthouse epic, Leather Jacket Love Story.
» 24
Small gestures bring large questions from the seminal French filmmaker.
Warhol's high standing as a visual artist and cultural icon has overshadowed his radical work in the cinema, but the recent emergence of many of his early films may change some of that.
Friedkin's insistence on telling his dark truths — "there is no subject that is off limits to a filmmaker," he once said — has resulted in a career studded with controversy and breakthroughs.
Sadie Benning has been a cause celebre in the queer community for almost a decade. Born in 1973 to a filmmaker father and an artist mother, she began making short films at age 15 and two years later came out as a lesbian. An iconoclast even as a teen, she employed the infamous "Pixelvision" camera in most of her early work and continues to use it.
Called the "father of postwar European avant-garde cinema" and regarded in some circles as the continental equivalent of America's Stan Brakhage, Kurt Kren (1929–1998) was an unlikely pioneer. A bank cashier by trade and by all accounts rather elfin, charming, and unassuming in manner, his films predate and predict many of the strategies of present-day radical art.
» 23
This beloved film artist was driven as much by self-doubt as by his belief in the power of the "little man."
» 22
Mizoguchi, with Ozu and Kurosawa one of the three undisputed masters from the golden age of Japanese cinema, was born in 1898 in the middle class district of Hongo, in Tokyo. Two events occurred when the future director was seven that may have played a pivotal role in the kinds of films he would make.
» 21
Few filmmakers lived their private lives more publicly than Rainer Werner Fassbinder (1945-1982), and few have had those lives so relentlessly linked to their artistic output.
Akira Kurosawa has been seen as one of the three components of a kind of Holy Trinity of golden-age Japanese auteurs, with Ozu reckoned as the contemplative Father; Mizoguchi as transcendent Holy Spirit; and Kurosawa; nicknamed "the Emperor," in the role of Son.
A few of porn's pioneering directors took the sexual revolution seriously and brought more authentic gay and bi imagery into their "straight" films. Radley Metzger, whose work spans the early 'sixties through the mid-'eighties, is by far the best of this meager lot.
» 20
How does it happen that a filmmaker once lauded as "the American avant-garde cinema's supreme erotic poet" vanishes entirely from the cultural landscape? Gregory Markopoulous was complicit in his own disappearance from the histories of modern art and cinema, where by any reasonable standard he belongs in the very forefront.
» 17
Much of the myth, if we can call it that, surrounding Paul Morrissey comes out of his early relationship with Andy Warhol's Factory and its glittering, damaged denizens. In a world of stylized weirdos, Morrissey was the straight businessman, always looking for the commercial possibilities inherent in a scene where few believed any existed.
Barbara Hammer is best known for her groundbreaking experimental film Nitrate Kisses (1992), which fearlessly broke two taboos by showing older lesbians in extended erotic embrace, all in richly detailed black and white. Hammer has been making films since the 1970s (she was one of the inspirations for Word Is Out), and wanted to create her autobiography "before someone else does it." Tender Fictions (1995) is the result — a playful, imaginative, penetrating description of an artist's life.
His thoughts on Fairbanks, Shirley Temple, Ronald Reagan, and all the "pansies and poseurs of Hollywood." No one was safe from the cruel barbs of the Great Auteur!
» 16
Behind that mountain of oversized tits-and-ass that make up Russ Meyer's 'body' of work is an extremely intelligent, charming, and funny man, well-versed in cinema history and pop culture.
The "world's worst director" never apologized for wearing women's clothes, though many have questioned his taste in sweaters.
» 15
by Matthew Severson
In an interview, Araki talks about his film-school influences — Godard, Bresson — and the violent "nightmares" he thoughtfully brings to audiences.
» 14
by John W. Hall
A case can be made that much of Hitchcock's Psycho, including some of its most memorable and disturbing elements, is taken from Orson Welles' Touch of Evil.
Using a mixture of home movies, archival footage of psycho wards, re-enactments, and interviews with her subjects, Light has created a complex, moving portrait of women in whom depression, schizophrenia, and multiple personalities coexist with powerful, sometimes inspired levels of creativity.

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@brightlightsfilm - stills, photos, and images from classic and contemporary films from around the world.


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