The Drive Scorpion jacket; the Blue Valentine two-tone leather, I mean, come on giiiiiiirl; and here a red jacket, more nondescript than usual Gosling but still cool — and then the cigarette comes out, but we only know this from the smoke that rolls back over his shoulders; as he winds though the dinging rides and flashing booths he is crowned by the chintzy glamour of the multicolored lights, and this is just so right, because this is what the character is: the smoking, brooding carnival king who will ride his motorcycle like no other into the burning twilight of legend
James Franco Loves ‘The Place Beyond the Pines’ and Ryan Gosling, Obviously
There’s always one film that lives inside the hearts of the cinematically minded—the one that opened their eyes, shook their world, and made them keen to the emotional, social, psychological, and physical possibilities that a movie can hold. For me, that was seeing David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive for the first time. I remember feeling as if someone had hit me over the head with a frying pan, awakening something in me that I never knew existed. It was the beginning of a new chapter in my life and remains a personal touchstone—a piece of cinema with which I have the most intimate relationship.
In The Film That Changed My Life, Robert K. Elder interviews 30 directors on their “epiphanies in the dark.” After spending a lot of time recently thinking about the way in which my tastes have changed but what will always stay the same, I wanted to share some highlights from Elder’s book, that gives insight into some of the most acclaimed and brilliant filmmakers today, as they reveal the movies that ignited something in them and made them want to make films of their own.
So here are some of your favorite directors on the films that moved them the most—enjoy.
From Rian Johnson to John Waters, Your Favorite Directors on the Films That Changed Their Lives
It’s just fascinating to see, especially at this point, to just look at a guy and this is a documentary about his dick! I mean what the fuck is this, it’s a documentary about his dick…maybe I’m insane but this is just good stuff. And like I said, I laugh at this just as much as it fuckin’ kills me, it’s so sad, you know? This is an hour and a half documentary and we’re just seeing clips of it and it’s all about his penis and he probably got to a point in his life and realized, nobody gives a fucking shit about me—and that’s kind of sad…and weird.
Enjoy Paul Thomas Anderson’s Commentary on the 1981 Porn Doc That Inspired ‘Boogie Nights’
And then Ryan and Eva, their chemistry became this longing. And to be a filmmaker and have these real things, to be able to capture a real longing on film is amazing. Again, coming from a documentary background, that’s all I’m trying to do—to see something that’s real. And these moments, to capture these moments it’s fleeting.
Yeah, when I was growing up my mom watched Days of Our Lives all the time and I did too. I watched soap operas and they can really be riveting. I think watching Days of Our Lives made it’s way into Pines just because I soaked up so much of that. But I also love movies and I love films that don’t pander to you. I can’t stand over-sentimentalization. I’m interested in honesty—I can’t say “truth.” I remember Cassavetes has a great line in The Killing of Chinese Bookie. Ben Gazzara says, “My truth is your false hood, and your false hood is my truth and vice versa.” There is no real truth you can get to but you can go for honesty and emotional honesty.
Exploring the Drama and Danger of ‘The Place Beyond the Pines’ With Director Derek Cianfrance
I love narrative and how it exists and why it exists and how it’s meant to be used. You can come up with a paragraph full of some truth, something that’s universal, some exploration, and it can be really informative but it’s likely to not be that interesting. But you ca spin a story, you can tell a narrative and you can infuse it with this stuff and if you’ve done your job right, you haven’t just captured somebody’s attention long enough to take them on this exploration, you’ve also maybe figured out something about the exploration through the act of the story because that’s what we key into. So I love narrative and I think that film is the height of narrative and I don’t know what 100 years from now looks like, but from right now, to be able to communicate non-verbally but still explore, I don’t know what would be better than that. So I guess that’s what I love about it. It’s like you’re feeding right into the main line of how we experience things.
Sinking Into the World of ‘Upstream Color’ With Director Shane Carruth