I make film to make time pass.
I don't think you should FEEL about a movie. You should feel about a woman. You can't kiss a movie.
Tracking shots are a question of morality.
[on Los Angeles] It's a big garage.
There is no point in having sharp images when you've fuzzy ideas.
Every edit is a lie.
Up to now -- since shortly after the Bolshevik Revolution -- most movie makers have been assuming that they know how to make movies. Just like a bad writer doesn't ask himself if he's really capable of writing a novel -- he thinks he knows. If movie makers were building airplanes, there would be an accident every time one took off. But in the movies, these accidents are called Oscars.
What I want above all is to destroy the idea of culture. Culture is an alibi of imperialism. There is a Ministry of War. There is a Ministry of Culture. Therefore, culture is war.
I write essays in the form of novels, or novels in the form of essays. I'm still as much of a critic as I ever was during the time of 'Cahiers du Cinema.' The only difference is that instead of writing criticism, I now film it.
In a house there is the top floor and there is the cellar. The underground filmmakers live in the same house as Hollywood, but they work in the cellar. It's up to them if they like to live in the dark. The Hollywood filmmakers are more intelligent, because they have that sunny top floor.
A story should have a beginning, a middle and an end, but not necessarily in that order.
All you need to make a movie is a girl and a gun.
[at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival about filmmaker Michael Moore] Post-war filmmakers gave us the documentary, Rob Reiner gave us the mockumentary and Moore initiated a third genre, the crockumentary.
It's over. There was a time maybe when cinema could have improved society, but that time was missed.
In the beginning I believed in Cannes, but now it's just for publicity. People come to Cannes just to advertise their films, not with a particular message. But the advantage is that if you go to the festival, you get so much press coverage in three days that it advertises the film for the rest of the year.
People in life quote as they please, so we have the right to quote as we please. Therefore I show people quoting, merely making sure that they quote what pleases me.
You don't make a movie, the movie makes you.
My aesthetic is that of the sniper on the roof.
Cinema is the most beautiful fraud in the world.
In order to criticize a movie, you have to make another movie.
[in Paris, 10/18/66] Until I am paid on par with Henri-Georges Clouzot, Federico Fellini and René Clément, I cannot consider myself to be a success.
[on Kenji Mizoguchi] The greatest of Japanese filmmakers. Or, quite simply, one of the greatest of filmmakers.
In my cinema, there are never any intentions. It's not me inventing this empty auditorium. I don't want to say anything, I try to show, or to get feeling across, or to allow something else to be said after the fact.
I don't believe in the body of work. There are works, they might be produced in individual installments, but the body of work as a collection, the great oeuvre, I have no interest in it. I prefer to speak in terms of pathways. Along my course, there are highs and there are lows, there are attempts... I've towed the line a lot. You know, the most difficult thing is to tell a friend that what he's done isn't very good. I can't do it. Éric Rohmer was brave enough to tell me at the time of the Cahiers that my critique of "Strangers on a Train" was bad. Jacques Rivette could say it too. And we paid a lot of attention to what Rivette thought. As for François Truffaut, he didn't forgive me for thinking his films were worthless. He also suffered from not ending up finding my films as worthless as I thought his own were.
Cinema begins with D.W. Griffith and ends with Abbas Kiarostami.
[on Quentin Tarantino] Tarantino named his production company after one of my films. He'd have done better to give me some money.
[on Steven Spielberg] I don't know him personally. I don't think his films are very good.
A film should have a beginning, a middle and an end, but not necessarily in that order.
Bresson [Robert Bresson] is to French cinema what Mozart [Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart] is to German music and Dostoyevsky [Fyodor Dostoevsky] is to Russian literature.
[on Orson Welles] All of us will always owe him everything.
If the cinema no longer existed, Nicholas Ray alone gives the impression of being capable of reinventing it, and, what is more, of wanting to.
[on Emmanuelle Riva's performance in "Hiroshima Mon Amour"] Let's take the character played by Emmanuelle Riva. If you ran into her on the street, or saw her every day, I think she would only be of interest to a very limited number of people. But in the film she interests everyone. For me, she's the kind of girl who works at the "Editions du Seuil" or for "L'Express", a kind of 1959 George Sand. A priori, she doesn't interest me, because I prefer the kind of girl you see in [Renato] Castellani's film. This said, Resnais has directed Emmanuelle Riva in such a prodigious way that now I want to read books from "Le Seuil" or "L'Express".
To me, thinking about films and making them is no different.
Pernaps the most interesting thing with video is that you can grab the camera easily. But if you can grab the camera easily, maybe you can put it down more easily too and think about it better.