Room 666If you could get a large group of some of cinema's greatest directors in one room, what would you ask them? Well, director Wim Wenders got that opportunity while at the 1982 Cannes Film Festival, and subsequently made a documentary about it. 16 iconic directors, including Jean-Luc Godard, Steven Spielberg, Werner Herzog, and Rainer Werner Fassbinder, were asked a series of questions about the future of the film industry, as well as the art form itself, and their answers became an incredible 44-minute video compendium of cinematic knowledge. Check it Wenders' Room 666 after the break.

This video was shared by The Film Stage last year as a roundabout way to commemorate the 31st anniversary of Rainer Werner Fassbinder's death, which occurred less than a month after the filming of this documentary. However, each director that appears in Room 666, which was in fact filmed at Cannes in room 666 at the Hotel Martinez, were given one 16 mm reel (about 11 minutes) to give their insight into filmmaking as art, the state of cinema at the time, and where they believed it was headed -- the main question being, "Is cinema a language about to get lost, an art about to die?" 

It's especially interesting, because we are now living in and experiencing the future they were talking about. In fact, French director Romain Goupil talks about how film always seemed "prehistoric" to him, and how video was going to make the then (and now) cumbersome process of telling a story much easier. Spielberg's interview is interesting, too, in that it seems as though the Hollywood system of film investment hasn't changed since 1982. He laments how studios really only want to invest in "home run" pictures -- maybe "third base" pictures, but very rarely anything less. They want films that appeal to mass audiences -- not "films about your grandfather."

And, as a quick side note, Herzog, after he takes off his shoes and socks (because you can't give an interview with them on), imagines a day when you'll be able to do some crazy stuff with technology -- like order a meal using the buttons on your phone or your computer.

In case you want to follow along as each director speaks, here's a list of them in the order in which they appear:

  • Jean-Luc Godard
  • Paul Morrissey
  • Mike De Leon
  • Monte Hellman
  • Romain Goupil
  • Susan Seidelman
  • Noël Simsolo
  • Rainer Werner Fassbinder
  • Werner Herzog
  • Robert Kramer
  • Ana Carolina
  • Maroun Bagdadi
  • Steven Spielberg
  • Michelangelo Antonioni
  • Wim Wenders
  • Yilmaz Güney

Feel free to share your thoughts about any of the topics brought up in Room 666 below!

[via The Film Stage]