"If you love films and care about filmmakers, you'll have a hard time putting this book down. These lively conversations reveal just how much one generation of filmmakers influences the next - and how a single movie can change the course of a young person's life and career."
-Leonard Maltin, author of Leanord Martin's Movie Guide
"A great and provocative read. Elder begins with a simple question and leads a wide variety of filmmakers down all sorts of unexpected paths. Why do we respond so passionately, even irrationally, to the movies that change our lives? The wonderful thing about being a critic or a lifelong movie lover is that life changes all the time in relation to the spells being cast on the screen. Elder's book honors that alchemic relationship many times over. It's addictive."
-Michael Phillips, film critic, Chicago Tribune
Alex Gibney on Luis Buñuel:
“What’s great about the way Buñuel treats his actors is he puts them in these ridiculous situations and then always asks them to act as if they don’t think the situations are ridiculous at all. He shoots them from a medium distance, rarely shooting them in close-up, which has a tense, but sometimes partly comic effect. You know, you never shoot comedy in close-up.”
Gurinder Chadha on It’s a Wonderful Life:
“Try, if you can. You can watch that film, and you know what is going on. But I defy anyone who is able to watch that film, and the end when the table is cleared, and everyone is coming in with the money—I just cannot believe there isn’t anyone with wet eyes at that point, or a big lump in their throat. I’ve seen it millions of times, and I’m just in floods of tears at that point.”
John Waters on The Wizard of Oz:
“Maybe it’s because—and what I do believe—in America, anything can happen. The great freedom of living in America, compared to many other countries—maybe this could happen; you could be home one day and be really just transported to another world, learn everything, and come back. To me, it is American because of the values with friends, and how people save each other and expose fraud—the person behind the curtain is really bullshit that has no power. All those are very American subject matter, but I don’t know why they aren’t European really, either.”
Michel Gondry on Le voyage en Ballon:
“The director, Albert Lamorisse, was a helicopter operator, and he had invented stuff to shoot from. In this one he had his son in a basket hanging under the real helicopter. It’s not like studio stuff. It’s really flying. It’s under the helicopter; it’s always super windy and they have to change the sound because when you travel in a balloon, you don’t have wind because you move with the wind. So it’s very quiet. They had to post-direct all the sound, but it’s dubbed very roughly—that gives it a very dreamy quality.”