kottke.org posts about Screen Epiphanies

Films that inspired directorsDec 01 2009

From a book called Screen Epiphanies, a few directors (Danny Boyle, Mira Nair, Martin Scorsese, etc.) share the films that first inspired them. Here's Lars von Trier on Kubrick's Barry Lyndon:

Watching Stanley Kubrick's Barry Lyndon is a pleasure, like eating a very good soup. It is very stylised and then suddenly comes some emotion [when the child falls off the horse]. There is not a lot of emotion. There are a lot of moods and some fantastic photography, really like these old paintings.

Thank God he didn't have a computer. If he had a computer at that time, you wouldn't care, but you know he has been waiting three weeks for this mountain fog or whatever. It is overwhelming with the boy, because it is suddenly this emotional thing. The character Barry Lyndon is not very emotional. In fact, he is the opposite. He is an opportunist.

I saw the film when it came out. I was in my early twenties. The first time I saw it, I slept. It was on too late and it is a very, very long film. What is interesting is that Nicole Kidman told me Kubrick hated long films. If you have seen Barry Lyndon, the last scene of the film, where she is writing out a cheque for him, is extremely long. It goes on and on and on, but it's beautiful.

The good thing is that Kubrick always sets his standards. Barry Lyndon to me is a masterpiece. He casts in a very strange way, Kubrick. It is a very strange cast. But that is how the film should be, of course. This thing that he liked short films was very surprising. And he liked Krzysztof Kieslowski very much. He was crazy about Kieslowski.

I don't know if Kubrick saw any of my films, but I know Tarkovsky watched the first film I did and hated it! That is how it is supposed to be.

"The first time I saw it, I slept" will be my go-to answer for lots of things from now forward.

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