Eli Wiesel, KBE
In April 2012, Elie Wiesel visited Chapman University to take part in an extensive Q & A session. From my vantage point in the auditorium, it seemed that half of the questions, mostly asked by students, centered on morality in fictional scenarios. For example, In a fire, is it better if someone rescues more people, or rescues just the children?
Wiesel answered the same way, each time: “I don’t know. I don’t know the full story, so I can’t say.”
This clearly flustered the students asking these questions. (At one point, one of them exclaimed, “Really?!”) Wiesel didn’t come across as obstinate; rather, his answers came from a place of humility, nurtured over the course of a lifetime.
An excerpt from the 1995 documentary Krzysztof Kieslowski: I am so-so…, taken after the interviewer, Krzysztof Wierzbicki, asks director Kryzstof Kieslowski how society should solve contemporary cultural issues. (They are both sitting next to a fireplace.)
“If I knew the answer to that, I wouldn’t be sitting by some stupid fireplace, but in a president’s chair, telling everyone what to do to make it better. But I don’t know. Knowing isn’t my profession.”
Roger Deakins, CBE, ASC, BSC
In September 2015, cinematographer Roger Deakins participated in a Q & A session at the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood, after a screening of Sicario, which he shot with director Denis Villeneuve. I have listed some of Deakins’ answers below.
“How did you make the final car sequence in Prisoners so pretty?
We actually shot that scene on the last day of shooting, and kind of figured it out at the last minute. Much of the crew had already left set, I believe. But when you’re in the middle of shooting, you do the best you can with the tools you have. [Shrugs]
In response to a requisite audience question about whether Deakins prefers to shoot with film or digital formats.
Well, I’m not really a technical person. I like images.
“Do you have any advice for aspiring cinematographers?”
The only thing I can really say is, find your own sensibility. You get hired for your eyes.
“Do you get frustrated when someone watches one of the big, beautiful films you’ve shot on an iPhone or iPad?”
Well, I once caught [Sicario director] Denis Villeneuve watching Citizen Kane on his iPhone, when we were on set. But I’m just happy if someone watches our movies.” [Pauses and shrugs]
I don’t know.