I guess George Clooney would be a wonderful silent actor, and Leonardo DiCaprio is such a wonderful actor he certainly could do it.— Michel Hazanavicius
The most risky Michel Hazanavicius quotes that are easy to memorize and remember
When you're with your wife, you don't say I love you to your wife every day but the ways you look at her and your actions are another way to communicate. Don't focus on dialogue, only focus on what you're expressing.
There's always been a struggle with filmmakers between art and industry, and you have to find a balance.
If you try to make a silent movie with a normal script and you just pull out the dialogue, you will have big problems with the actors because you will ask them to tell a story that you don't know.
Sometimes I think you have to try to do things that people don't think are doable. I remember at the very beginning actually, the first person I had to convince was myself really because there's a self-censorship. When everybody says 'we don't do silent movies anymore,' you agree with everybody, and you say 'yeah, you're right.' It was a fantasy.
I watched a lot of silent directors who were absolutely great like John Ford and Fritz Lang, Tod Browning, and also some very modern directors like The Coen Brothers. The directors take the freedom within their own movies to be melodramatic or funny when they chose to be. They do whatever they want and they don't care about the genre.
An idea is something you work on to make it work and a desire is much deeper in a way.
I think Hollywood is cleverer than you think.
I'm not sure they will do it. I don't think so, but maybe I'm wrong. When we were doing the preparation of the movie, we didn't have all the money so we were looking for all the solutions possible, and 3D was one option.
There are two kinds of audiences. There's the ones who were in the theaters, and the ones who are outside and we want them to come inside the theater. And, it's not the same.
When you do not have the dialogue to explain things, you will use everything to show and to tell the story. I think that this is what makes you believe that it is impeccable.
But I don't think of myself as a foreigner or a Frenchman! I just think of myself as a director. Whether I'm French or Australian or whatever, it's really not important.
To me the recognition of the audience is part of the filmmaking process.
When you make a movie, it's for them.
I try to respect the rules of the silent movies and I tried to make signification to make sense, and also the crew were very good and the fact that we shot in LA in the real Hollywood, studios and houses. We shot in the bed of Mary Pickford, and you cannot be any more accurate than that, so that helped a lot.
All over the world there are a lot of distributors that have the equipment for 3D but they don't have the movies really. The only source of 3D movies is Hollywood. Only Hollywood sends the 3D movies. So it was an option.
I thought 'The Artist' was a perfect way to find a good balance.
The artistic challenge is obvious because the film is black-and-white and its silent, but I did my best to make the movie accessible and easy to watch. I really don't want to make elitist movies. I really try hard to work for the audience. Audiences are smart. They get everything.
I looked at a lot of photos from Hollywood in the '20s, photographs of silent movies being filmed all over the world which are very specific and very evocative. Berenice, the lead actress, is my wife. She really followed the same path with me.
When you look at the early-'30s movies, like King Kong, the codes of acting are very similar to those of silent movies. In some of the silent movies - the good ones, the ones done by the best directors - the acting is very, very natural.
This is the problem with language, and this is what makes silent movies fun, because the connection with them, me or the audience is not with the language. There's no question of interpretation of what we are saying it's just about feeling. You create your own story.
It's about storytelling. The story is told through images. So with the cast, I had to make sure that the emotions were readable without sound... I know some great actors, if you turn off the sound, you don't really know what they're saying.
I think there's something in common with the OSS 117 movies.
The big difference is there's no irony in this one. It's not parody. I tried to make it very simple. It's a simple story, but to be simple, it's very complex in the way it's done.
First of all, I had the desire for that format [silent movie], and then when I was talking to people, I felt that people needed justification. Why are you doing a silent movie? Is it just for your own pleasure? I felt it was not enough for them so I realized I have to choose the subject that will make things easier for them and to tell the story of a silent actor makes sense for doing a silent movie.
Sometimes when an actor says something almost perfect, but you know you have to edit it, if you tell them to change something immediately, it will come out great.
I guess all the directors in France are influenced by Hitchcock, because he's the perfect visual director, in my eyes.
I think being a foreigner and talking about Hollywood allowed me to use some cliches and some references that an American would maybe not use.
I always loved silent movies. I was not a specialist, but I loved them. And when I started directing, I became really fascinated by the format - how it works, the device of the silent movie. It's not the same form of expression as a talkie. The lack of sounds makes you participate in the storytelling.
French people are strange about America, I think.
Finally, you're right about one point, your entire way of thinking is predicted by what you're immersed in so you know you won't make a bad decision. You can make a bad decision but it's still in the good sphere normally if you work well. You're prepared to face a crew who wants to know everything and poses a hundred questions a minute, because you know you have good reflexes and can respond very quickly.
I want to thank three person: I want to thank Billy Wilder.
I want to thank Billy Wilder. And I want to thank Billy Wilder.
I think the writer is always the creator, because he's starting with nothing, but the actor comes in and gives flesh and blood.
It's just incredible. When you're French, coming from a non-English language country, you don't even dream about Oscar recognition or nominations. It's just beyond the dream. It's something very, very special and unique. It's the highest recognition any filmmaker could dream of.
I make almost all the decisions on set and have to deal with all the financial aspects.
French cinema audiences usually don't express anything. Certainly not satisfaction.
The Germans were much more graphical.
The expressionism is much more than cinema. It was a movement with artists, painters, music and architecture, so it's really graphic and visual. And the French were something else.
When we were making the movie, winning awards for it wasn't the point at all.
We didn't even have an American distributor.
Sure, I watched a lot of Hollywood movies. Maybe I've seen more Hollywood movies than French movies.
Robert DeNiro, who may be the greatest living actor, usually acts in a way which is very stone-faced, like Steve McQueen. For example, Steve McQueen, if you cut the sound, you don't know what he's acting really. He gives to the lines, to the text, something very special, and he's very good. He was a great actor. But, to do a silent movie, you have to have more expressive actors.
I can say is usually people are slightly confused.
They think that silent movies are old. But, the fact is, they are old because they have been made in the '20s. That's the thing that makes them old. Not the format. The format is just a format. It's not an old format.
I think we are at the very beginning of high changes, not only in terms of digital film, but in the way the movies will be screened, whether they'll be screened on phones, on computers - on everything.
I like to shoot beautiful things. My two previous movies were one in the '60s, the other one in the '50s, and this one is in the '20s. This is a period that's very cinegenic. The cars, the props, the suits, the haircuts, the dresses, everything, and it gives you pleasure to compose frames with that material. The music, I really love jazz, so for me, when you have good materials and nice things, it's very pleasant.
At the very beginning, it's a desire and that's not the same thing at all, because when you have the desire to do something, all the work you can do is a positive thing. It's not something that you calculate. An idea is something you work on to make it work and a desire is much deeper in a way. The immersion, it's classical, I watched a lot of movies.
I'm very happy in France making movies.
It's not my job. The Weinstein company, it's their job to convince people. My job was to make the movie. That's what I did. I know what we did in France was to have the maximum screenings just to let people talk about the movie and say they enjoyed the movie.
Actually, I met a lot of directors and most of them have that fantasy to make a silent movie because for directors it's the purest way to tell a story. It's about creating images that tell a story and you don't need dialogue for that.
They said 'if you have a 3D movie, we'll buy it' because they want it.
For maybe two weeks I really thought of a silent, black and white 3D movie and I thought it could be great. I imagined it as a very special image, a very new image, but fortunately, I didn't have to do it.
Hollywood is much more than America. Hollywood belongs to all of the planet.
Bernard Herrmann was a genius, a great, great composer.
But sometimes I think you have to try to do things that people don't think are doable.
The fact that I made a special movie with an old-fashioned style - even if it's a mix between with modern and old-fashioned things - must mean I feel both ways about change. In a way I'm resisting, but in a way adapting myself to the times.
I watched a lot of movies from all over the world.
The Russians were very good at editing. They were specialists in editing. The Man with a Camera, if you know that movie, is incredible. I still don't understand how it works. It's a movie with no script, no actors and still it works. It's really good. It's really about editing.