52 Inspiring Quotes of Pawel Pawlikowski

” I don’t think women are that vastly different from men. I’m a bit of a woman myself. But I’m not a feminist filmmaker. I’m not making a feminist thesis to prove that women are important. I just happen to make films with strong characters that are women. “
” Just by my home is an entrance to the sewers they used in the Warsaw uprising. I grew up knowing people died down there. Warsaw was once a battleground; then it became a morgue. It’s a city littered with ghosts. And that never left me. “
” If you wanted to make a film about British teenagers, it would be… well, it wouldn’t interest me; let’s put it like that. They’d be listening to music I hate, watching TV all the time, and talking about ‘Big Brother.’ “
” ‘Ida’ doesn’t set out to explain history. That’s not what it’s about. The story is focused on very concrete and complex characters who are full of humanity with all its paradoxes. They’re not pawns used to illustrate some version of history or an ideology. “
” I’m not emotionally excited by the power of cinema’s tricks anymore. “
” Art is not journalism. In art, you don’t make it to convey a message. “
” A good script is like a work of art in itself. I’ve read hundreds of scripts, and good ones are very rare. If the writer has something to say, and a voice, and a plot that matches character, and an emotional trajectory that works, then I’d be an idiot to fool around with it. It’s just that few scripts ever are like that. “
” What’s been lost is allowing cinema to be artful, playful, to have ambiguity, to have form, to be contemplative, to wish to be art. This slightly timeless approach to reality, like Chekhov in literature, where you look at all humanity and try to find what’s transcendent. “
” I come from a magnetic field of Catholicism. I was baptised by my mother’s family, who were all traditional Catholics. But my mother was the black sheep of the family – she ran away to the ballet at 17. “
” Life is complicated, and art has the right to be complicated, too. I don’t like films that simplify. “
” I’m so happy when someone does something original, and there’s no focus group or planning committee. If the cinema doesn’t get an injection of that once in a while, we’re in trouble. “
” My films are always a reflection of where I am in my life. “
” My father’s mother was a secular Jew who died in Auschwitz. I only found out as an adult because my father never talked about it. He was a secularist and never defined himself in ethnic terms – partly, I think, because he was scared; partly out of the habit of not talking of such things; partly because he didn’t like being defined by other people. “
” I don’t know what directing actors is all about apart from just casting well and then shaping their performances a bit, you know. “
” For me, filmmaking is not exactly a career. I was never in it for Hollywood or anything. My films are markers of where I am in life, where I am in my head. So that’s what I’m working on, and I try to keep things in proportion – life and filmmaking. One feeds into the other. “
” ‘Ida’ is about humanity, about guilt and forgiveness. It’s not a film that deals with an issue as such. It’s more universal. “
” The whole world, it’s a problem that there’s too much stuff being produced. We don’t have time to reflect on the important things in life. “
” It’s wonderful that Poland is free again and there’s open debate and people can pursue their interests. I’m all for it. “
” I grew up in a secular environment, you know, in the ’60s and ’70s. My mother’s family was Catholic, but you know, just very kind of conventionally Catholic. You know, nothing – there was nothing, you know, extreme about their version of religion. And my father was a free spirit, you know? He had no time for religion at all. “
” I think – you know, the big trauma in my life, personally, was the fact that at 14, I was taken out of Poland unwittingly because my parents were divorced. Left the country – my mother left for England with her new husband. I wasn’t even aware that she’d married him. “
” Strangely, you know, my parents, who left Poland separately and, you know, divorced, ended up marrying other people. But then they met again abroad, and they got together again. “
” One of my favorite writers is Chekhov. I love his attitude toward the world. Just accept things for what they are. Don’t judge. Be moral as you tell your story, but have no moral at the end. Just look at it. “
” The documentaries I made were never normal documentaries. They were about subjects I was obsessed with, and I suppose I thought I could sculpt them. What I think I do with my fiction is the same. “
” I always thought that life is full of stories and characters that feel like literary stories and characters. So when I started making documentaries, they weren’t humble empirical things, just following people around. I was always trying to impose a story. “
” I dread to be compared to all these directors who have a lot of spontaneous emoting and swearing in their films – that is death; it’s a cul-de-sac. It doesn’t lift the material at all. It’s just a cliched reproduction of what we think is normal behaviour. “
” When I write, I imagine scenes. I write things down. I take photographs. I do some casting. I rewrite. It’s a permanent making or remaking. “
” For me, each film, each script is like a little journey in itself, and I’m reinventing the wheel. It’s like, ‘How do I make this film?’ That’s part of the pleasure, and that’s why I’m not a normal professional director. “
” I lived a pretty chaotic life. I went to England, and I moved around, and there were a lot of things that I was interested in. I wrote poetry. I took photographs. I was a musician and all sorts of things. Nothing brilliant, but I did all these different things. “
” I actually studied literature and philosophy. So, when I started making films, I didn’t really know what I was doing, and I was too proud and arrogant to learn. “
” I think people crave those meaningful situations, stuff about faith, identity, dilemmas of live paradoxes in our souls. It’s going back to a time where lives were really defined by history, and also how you behave in the face of history. It’s kind of interesting to go back to that simpler humanity, simpler but deeper. “
” I like to control my films from beginning to end, to write them the way I want. “
” I could never work in that kind of commercial environment where the stars have a lot to say, where the producers kind of push you around and tell you who to cast and who not to cast. I’m just not interested in that at all. “
” I love good TV shows, but it’s not what I do. I kind of sculpt my films as I go along. And TV is all about writing, so you just shoot, shoot, shoot what’s written. “
” My stupid ambition is to make a film that’s not like any other – one that has its own kind of logic and hooks viewers without making them think too much. It’s a film I’d love to see, one in which after 10 minutes the audience isn’t able to predict the whole thing. “
” The problem with shooting in Paris is, it’s been shot to death. When you’re in it, you already think you’re in a movie, so how do you get away from that feeling, and give some frisson to the viewer? “
” I try to turn a place on film into a mental state. I always have three or four locations that I repeat and return to in a film, to make it more mythic. But my fiction films are relatively subjective stories, experienced though one character. And that always justifies a little stylisation in terms of landscape. “
” In 2006, I started making a film called ‘Restraint of Beasts.’ While I was making it, I had a personal disaster. My wife fell ill, so we stopped shooting halfway through. And then sadly, my wife died. “
” I connect with all of the characters in my films. That’s what makes you want to make a film, that you can enter the mindset, the situation, the conflict, the contradictions. “
” It’s much better to write a book and stick to the research – that’s history. In cinema, emotional truth and psychological truth is much more important. “
” I love films that are many things at the same time while being simple. “
” The most interesting stuff happens when an authoritarian government removes itself a little and gives this margin of freedom. And then art is grabbed with both hands. “
” For me, good films and good books are irreducible to a lesson. You can’t just kind of translate them into one statement. On the contrary, the more you do that, the less wisdom in art there is. “
” For me, actors have to have a character, an aura, body language. They’re not models. They used to call actors models. But I want them to participate in the film. “
” I always write three or four projects at the same time. They’re stories that I want to tell, and usually I dump them unfinished for the next one in order not to get too cornered and depressed about it. “
” I’m a pretty chaotic person, but I’m also a perfectionist. It’s a very unfortunate mix. “
” The luxury that I have is I’m not career-minded, I just live from one film to the next. For a time, I was making documentaries, and all my documentaries were winning awards and stuff, and then I lost interest in documentaries. “
” It’s so difficult to actually come up with ideas that you really fall in love with, you know? That’s the most difficult thing about filmmaking – and that’s my main challenge in life. “
” With documentaries, what’s beautiful about them is that you capture something unique in a shot, something that will never repeat itself. “
” ‘The Restraint of Beasts’ is a painful subject. We’d shot 60% of the film when I had to stop. The material looks great, like nothing I’ve ever done or even seen before. It could have been really great, definitely original. “
” To cast Ida, it took ages, and I was a bit desperate. I couldn’t find somebody I could believe in. I spent months looking for the lead among young actresses and drama students. “
” I’m more interested in people the way they are than what they’ve done onscreen before. So I don’t worry much about the acting skills or the name, the status. I just think, ‘Do I believe this person? Do I like them? Are they interesting, complicated, have the right aura, energy?’ “
” In America, I don’t think you have the creative freedom that I’m used to. Traditionally, it’s a producer’s cinema here. “