"Art attracts us only by what it reveals of our most secret self."
Simple: We become interested in art because it shows us more about ourselves.
"The truth is that there is no terror untempered by some great moral idea."
"Beauty is composed of an eternal, invariable element whose quantity is extremely difficult to determine, and a relative element which might be, either by turns or all at once, period, fashion, moral, passion."
"All you need for a movie is a gun and a girl."
What it means: Sex and violence keep people interested in movies. Because of this, they are needed for a movie to be popular.
"To me style is just the outside of content, and content the inside of style, like the outside and the inside of the human body—both go together, they can’t be separated."
"The cinema is not an art which films life: the cinema is something between art and life. Unlike painting and literature, the cinema both gives to life and takes from it, and I try to render this concept in my films. Literature and painting both exist as art from the very start; the cinema doesn’t."
"Photography is truth. The cinema is truth twenty-four times per second."
[variation] Cinema is truth at twenty-four frames a second.
"I would never see a good movie for the first time on television."
"...the movie is not a thing which is taken by the camera; the movie is the reality of the movie moving from reality to the camera."
"In films, we are trained by the American way of moviemaking to think we must understand and 'get' everything right away. But this is not possible. When you eat a potato, you don't understand each atom of the potato!"
Simple: American movies try to make the audience understand everything. This is not likely. This is like eating a potato. You cannot understand every atom of the potato.
"To be only spectacular should be 5 or 10 percent of cinema."
"American pictures usually have no subject, only a story. A pretty woman is not a subject. Julia Roberts doing this and that is not a subject."
What it means: Movies need to focus on a story, not on having a certain actor.
"Movies in Hollywood now, for the past 20 or 30 years, are made mainly by lawyers or agents."
Simple: Lawyers and agents now take control of movies.
↑"What Is Cinema?" Les Amis du Cinéma (Paris, October 1, 1952).
↑"Strangers on a Train," Cahiers du Cinéma (Paris, March 10, 1952).
↑"Defence and Illustration of Classical Construction," Cahiers du Cinéma (Paris, Sept. 15, 1952).