Sharing Coppola


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.


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Sharing Coppola

One thought on “Sharing Coppola

  1. halmasonberg says:

    What an odd response, Rob. Your 2 year old son must be a genius. Sorry, but there are few filmmakers who take the risks in cinema that Coppola does. Or have an understanding of cinema as Coppola does. But, yes, when you take risks, you get responses like yours. Hopefully, Coppola has learned enough over the years to ignore such statements. His daughter Sofia will have to learn the same lessons as she is currently one of the few making truly amazing films in this country. Neither of them pander. They both have something to say and they are making films unlike any other films out there. So of course they will hear comments like yours. Kind of reeks of those comments one would hear about Picasso and how my child can draw better than that. One need only look at Kubrick’s EYES WIDE SHUT and how many people couldn’t recognize a cinematic masterpiece when they saw it to understand why someone would put Coppola down. To each his own, I guess.

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