Matthew Modine on the Art of the Auteur

Modine: Well, filmmaking is a director’s medium, you know. It begins with the work, and a director would be inspired by the words of an author, and find that need to say, like, I want to tell the story. And then what always happens is that there’s something that the writer said, and rarely is it what the writer said that sparks the desire for a director to make a story. There’s something about that that says, “Oh, that happened to me,” or, “I understand that.” And then it has to go through the filter of the director and expose his need to tell the story. And sometimes that’s quite different than what the writer wrote, but it’s a direction that the director needs to go in and he’ll take and, you know, break the writer’s heart because he’s just changing the story and changing the intention, sometimes, of what the writer was trying to say. But it’s that fire and that need that the director has, you know, to tell the story. And then the director has to go and find these pieces to make the film, which will be these actors or a cinematographer. And then the story of the writer goes through the filter of those people and their need to tell the story. Like, I want to play that guy because I remember that experience in my life. And again, that might be just a little bit different than what the writer’s intent was and what that writer wrote. But, all of these things, all these desires to create something and bring it to life and make it important, you know, all of these things in order to finally weave into a fabric of the film, it’s a difficult process. And, you know, there’s so many names on a film. You can see how many opportunities there are for things to go wrong. It only takes… you know, if there’s 200 credits on the film – it could be as few as 5, it could be as many as a dozen – that it caused the whole fabric to come, you know, come apart. It’s difficult to make a film, you know, and that’s why we celebrate them when they work and why directors are… why the job is so difficult, is because, you know, he’s got to pull all those things together and keep it cohesive and keep it clear.

Matthew Modine talks about why film is a directors’ medium.

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