As always, I’m on the lookout for comments, articles, interviews by writers, filmmakers, artists of all shapes and sizes, that inspire me, guide me, or simply make me think. I have endless respect and admiration for writer/director Francis Ford Coppola. Sure, there have been a few films over his long career that didn’t seem on par with his greatest work, but it’s become common knowledge that Coppola allowed himself to become a hired hand in order to pay off a massive debt.
Now that the debt is history, thanks to many films and a successful wine-making business, Francis Coppola is back in the writer/director seat once again and this time with a vengeance! For the commercially-minded Hollywood, this may be a mildly discomforting annoyance, but for those of us genuinely interested in filmmaking as passion, as art, as a language of expression and a life-journey, this is great news indeed.
Segments of an interview/lecture with Coppola were recently posted at the99percent.com and I wanted to share that article here. I found it to be immensely inspiring. It is one that I will keep and go back to for years. It is a great filmmaker pointing a light forward and letting us know that this, too, is a path that can be traversed and explored, despite the many in Hollywood standing just outside the entrance with signs which read “DO NOT PASS,” or “NO ENTRY,” or “ROAD CLOSED.”
My suggestion? Just step on the gas and go. They’ll move out of your way.
Here are some highlights:
“Try to disconnect the idea of cinema with the idea of making a living and money. Because there are ways around it… I make films. No one tells me what to do. But I make the money in the wine industry. You work another job and get up at five in the morning and write your script.”
“Always make your work be personal. And, you never have to lie… There is something we know that’s connected with beauty and truth. There is something ancient. We know that art is about beauty, and therefore it has to be about truth.”
“I just finished a film a few days ago, and I came home and said I learned so much today. So if I can come home from working on a little film after doing it for 45 years and say, “I learned so much today,” that shows something about the cinema. Because the cinema is very young. It’s only 100 years old.”
“An essential element of any art is risk. If you don’t take a risk then how are you going to make something really beautiful, that hasn’t been seen before? I always like to say that cinema without risk is like having no sex and expecting to have a baby. You have to take a risk.”
Read the full article: Francis Ford Coppola: On Risk, Money, Craft & Collaboration.