Moviemakers' Master Class Private Lessons from the World's Foremost Directors

Laurent Tirard

Faber & Faber



Trade Paperback

240 Pages



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Each great filmmaker has a secret method to his moviemaking—but each of them is different. Martin Scorsese likes setting up each shot very precisely ahead of time, so that he has the opportunity to change it all if he sees the need. Lars Von Trier, on the other hand, refuses to think about a shot until the actual moment of filming. And Bernardo Bertolucci tries to dream his shots the night before; if that doesn't work, he roams the set alone with a viewfinder, imagining the scene before the actors and crew join him.

In Moviemakers' Master Class, Laurent Tirard talks to twenty-one of today's most important filmmakers, allowing each man to speak in his own voice as he gets to the core of his craft. In these interviews, which originally appeared in the French film magazine Studio and are being published here in English for the first time, directors explore their visions as well as their techniques, shedding light on both the process and the person and helping us understand what makes each filmmaker—and his films—unique.


Praise for Moviemakers' Master Class

"[An] excellent resource. . . Tirard has assembled a group of interviews with some of the best directors in the movie industry."—Rosalind Daven, Library Journal

"What a pleasure to read so much straight talk about filmmaking from these masters of the craft. Each interview is brimming with insight—and honesty."—Leonard Maltin

"All filmmakers are confronted by the same questions, and each of them finds his own way to answer them. That is what makes these 'master classes' so clearly valuable." —Patrice Leconte (Academy Award nominee for Ridicule)

"The directors' idiosyncrasies shine through Mr. Tirard's book . . . The intricacies of film making are made even less mysterious."—The Economist

"Tirard is a master interviewer. Each director is given the freedom to digress while answering the question posed to him. And the result is a rich, personality-revealing read on the art of filmmaking . . . [This is] a book that should prove useful to someone who possesses a large amount of knowledge of film theory and technique, and will prove entertaining to someone who possesses none."—Mary Sampson, The Independent

"Filmmakers are like cooks. And this is the book of all their secret recipes."—Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Academy Award nominee for Amélie)

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Read an Excerpt

Moviemakers' Master Class
GROUNDBREAKERSJohn Boorman Sydney Pollack Claude Sautet 
The title of this section might make the reader think that these three directors have a conventional approach to filmmaking. Nothing could be more untrue. However, with the exception of Jean-Luc Godard (whose interview appears in the last section), these are the only directors in the book who started their careers before the cultural upheavals of the late sixties, and thus probably are the ones who started out in the most conservative environment. For them, breaking out of the mold of tradition and finding
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  • Laurent Tirard

  • Laurent Tirard was born in 1967. He studied filmmaking at New York University, from which he graduated with honors in 1989. After a year as a script reader for the Warner Bros. studio in Los Angeles, he became a journalist for the French film magazine Studio. There, over the course of seven years, he screened and reviewed more than a hundred films per year. Tirard is currently working on his first feature film as a director. He lives in Paris.