Wednesday, August 11, 2010

No Bad Films—Only Mediocre Directors



This is something that I don't feel like a whole lot of people recognize nowadays, and now more than ever it is intersecting with my life, which is why I bring it to the fore. And I don't just mean film; I continue to be baffled by some of the compromises many take with their listening habits-- perhaps even more so. A carefully considered and uncompromising ideology is what art consumption should be built upon. I can't stress this enough. Words to live by:
"I don't believe in good films and bad films. I believe in good and bad directors. It's possible that a mediocre or very average filmmaker might from time to time make a successful film, but such success doesn't count. It matters less than a Renoir failure, insofar as Jean Renoir is capable of making a film that fails. Among his films, the one I like the least is "French Cancan", where exterior contingencies seem to me to play too great a part. Nonetheless, "French Cancan", by virtue of it's subject (and inveterate showman's merging of his personal and professional lives), and of Francoise Arnoul's guiding performance, mattered more in the year 1955 than all the rest of French cinema put together.

A director possesses a style that one will find in all his films, and this is true of the worst filmmakers and their worst films. Differences from one film to the next-- a more ingenious script, superior photography, or whatever else-- don't matter, because these differences are precisely the product of exterior forces, more or less money, a greater or shorter shooting schedule. What's essential is that an intelligent and gifted filmmaker remain intelligent and gifted no matter what film he is shooting. I am therefore an advocate of judging, when there is judging to be done, not films but filmmakers. I will never like a Delannoy film; I will always like a Renoir film."

-François Truffaut, 1957

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