Man's greatest advances are weapon advances. Culture follows from weaponry, we are militant like the animals and birds - defending our homes. No matter how far back you go in history, along with the struggle for existence, along with the survival necessities - kill or be killed, eat or be eaten - there is a hunger for something spiritual. He invents God, prayers, incantations to something above him. Why? This is not brought out - this is not weapon culture.
I was the enemy of the major studio. I believed in one man - one film. I believed one man should make the film. And I believed the director should be that one man. One man should do it - I didn't give a damn who. I just couldn't accept art as a committee. I could only accept art as an extension of an individual.
Making money, getting yourself status in this world is not everything at all. But it has become everything in America. That you really have to get going and keep up with the Jones'. Get a house and a car and other things. And pretty soon you're stymied. Things own you.
Someone should keep reminding Mr. Average Man that he was born free, divine, strong; uncrushable by fate, society, or hell itself; and that he is a child of God, equal heir to all the bounties of God; and that goodness is riches, kindness is power, and freedom is glory. Above all, every man is born with an inner capacity to take him as far as his imagination can dream or envision-providing he is free to dream and envision.
Man must be able to recover, to win out, triumph over adversity. And I don't mean just the little adversity like paying his room rent or something. But those deep, deep human adversities because something he has faith in has turned to ashes. Where someone he loves turns out to be just another joke. You get to the point of suicide. But you can bounce back - they can't completely destroy you.
I think of the medium as a people-to-people medium, not cameraman-to-people, not direction-to-people, not writers-to-people, but people-to-peopleYou can only involve an audience with people. You can't involve them with gimmicks, with sunsets, with hand-held cameras, zoom shots, or anything else. They couldn't care less about those things. But you give them something to worry about, some person they can worry about, and care about, and you've got them, you've got them involved.
There are a lot of people who believe that the individual can't make it himself. And that's why people want to join up in various herds - herd formation. So you become part of a herd, a group. Group power of some kind. There's an awful lot of group power people in our country [the USA] - Black power, Chinese power, Indian power, woman power. Everyone is putting in together.
I happen to think that Jesus was the greatest hero of all time. I don't think you could invent that kind of a hero. He had it all - everything that the human spirit could yearn for. There is nothing that man ever said or did, by word or deed that is evil. That is not full of compassion. That is not full of love for your neighbor whether he's down or out, or up - no matter what. He taught that you must love your neighbor whether he's a crook, a beggar, whether he's rich or poor.
If the audience gets everything, if they see the photography and notice that it is good, then the story goes out the window, but if you become involved with the lives of the actors and forget that you are seeing mechanical devices on a huge screen - forget the make-believe - this is the job of the director to involve the audience with the actors.
Everybody who works under any system feels confined. It is a natural reaction. You are confined to a certain extent. You are confined if you work in a bank, if you paint. You are confined, in a sense, to your art - the enclosure of your mind. Everybody should break out.
The best way to make friends with an audience is to make them laugh. You don't get people to laugh unless they surrender - surrender their defenses, their hostilities. And once you make an audience laugh, they're with you. And they listen to you if you've got something to say. I have a theory that if you can make them laugh, they're your friends.
Any kind of dictatorship, I'm uneasy. I just don't like dictators. I don't like crowds. I don't like hordes, and I don't like other people telling me what to do. This is probably a reaction against people telling me what to do when I was a kid. I won't join any group, espouse a cause against some other people.