More than at any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly.I speak, by the way, not with any sense of futility, but with a panicky conviction of the absolute meaninglessness of existence which could easily be misinterpreted as pessimism. It is not. It is merely a healthy concern for the predicament of modern man.
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When a film is reviled, you open a film and people say "Oh, it's the stupidest thing, it's the worst movie." You think: oh, nobody's going to ever speak to you again. But, it doesn't happen. Nobody cares. You know, they read it and they say "Oh, they hated your film." You care, at the time. But they don't. Nobody else cares.
I think, on both sides of the camera or the novel: Distraction. I'm obsessed with: Can I get this actress or my third act to work? I'm distracted. I'm interested in that so I don't sit home and think, "Gee, life is meaningless. We're all going to die. The universe is pulling apart at breakneck speed."
Life is tough and it's tough whether you're famous or not famous. And in the end it's probably better to be famous because the perks are better. You get better seats at the basketball game, and you get better tables and reservations places. If I call a doctor on Saturday morning I can get him. There's a lot of things, indulgences that you don't get, if you're not famous. Now I'm not saying it's fair. But I can't say that I don't enjoy it.
Real life is generally much duller and inevitably sadder, most of the time. In film, you control everything that's going on, so you can indulge the most fantastic, romantic, escapist feelings and fantasies. You can do anything you want. That's why it's very seductive and pleasurable to earn your living making movies because you're not living in the real world.
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I have a number of symptoms that are neurotic and are constricting in the sense that if I had a brilliant idea for a film that had to be shot in Tulsa, OK I would tear it up and throw it away. Anything outside of New York, 'cause I can't exist in a hotel outside of my own home, I have to be in my own home and my own environment. This is a neurotic symptom that is constricting to my work even.
The man who said 'I'd rather be lucky than good' saw deeply into life. People are afraid to face how great a part of life is dependent on luck. It's scary to think so much is out of one's control. There are moments in a match when the ball hits the top of the net and for a split second it can either go forward or fall back. With a little luck it goes forward and you win. Or maybe it doesn't and you lose.
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That's one of the nice things about writing, or any art; if the thing's real, it just lives. All the attendant hoopla about it, the success over it or the critical rejection""none of that really matters. In the end, the thing will survive or not on its own merits. Not that immortality via art is any big deal. Truffaut died, and we all felt awful about it, and there were the appropriate eulogies, and his wonderful films live on. But it's not much help to Truffaut.
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Fantasy is seductive and much more wonderful than reality, but you can't take it to the bank. It's always an escape. And if used as an escape, as in attending a movie or a show for a circumscribed period of time, it's fine. When it starts to become undifferentiated from reality, it leads to big trouble.