May 31, 2014

Spielberg, Godard, Herzog, & More Offer Cinematic Wisdom in Wim Wender's 1982 'Room 666'

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.

https://vimeo.com/16992326

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]

Your Comment

13 Comments

Oh my god! This is a treasure! V, thank you!!!

June 1, 2014 at 2:20AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Fantastic

June 1, 2014 at 8:02AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Gavin

Kind of strange, and most of the smoking. %-)

June 1, 2014 at 8:25AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Tom DoP

V Renee I love your articles, you talk about things that are more relevant for filmmakers than a thousand technical articles about Canon or Blackmagic! Phenomenal!

June 1, 2014 at 12:21PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Jeff G

Seconded. The new wave of articles, covering all sides of actual cinema, from directing to cinematography, and not just endless camera and equipment announcements are very very welcome! This is what aspiring filmmakers need! Over and over it's been demonstrated that compelling content can be shot on a smartphone, so while video and audio quality are undoubtedly important, they're only a small part of making a piece of art.

June 2, 2014 at 12:55PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Bobby Silent

PS Ana Caroline was HOT! Never seen one of her flicks, but she's a looker. Cast and Crew must have had a permanent boner during filming. Morissey sounds like an asshole, someone who despises whatever cinema stands for, the antithesis of Tarantino.

June 2, 2014 at 1:15PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Bobby Silent

Thanks everyone! Cameras/history/theory/gear/tutorials…they all help us become better filmmakers, yeah?

And I definitely wanted to open a window in that room!

June 1, 2014 at 2:56PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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avatar
V Renée
Nights & Weekends Editor
Writer/Director

PINA

June 1, 2014 at 4:07PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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And thank you for the Sunday evening educational entertainment

June 1, 2014 at 4:09PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Worth it just for the 40 second opening shot of the cedar tree....zzzzzzzzz......sputter!.........hack!.....zzzzzzzz

June 6, 2014 at 8:21PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Drew

That done in 1982 !
I like what said the last one on a Tape Sony recorder Yilmaz Güney i think
this one got the best perspective and very close to my point of view.
I also appreciator the French speaking filmmaker it's fun for me too have the chance to listen the French or the English speaker.To bad they have no cameraman ! in this interview...we missing some close-up...

June 7, 2014 at 4:44PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Pierre Samuel Rioux

"...why do people have children?" -
GODARD, Jean-Luc
hahahahaha pure gold, thanks.

June 14, 2014 at 5:14PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Putting your children in the middle of adult decisions and
conflicts hurts them more than it hurts your ex-spouse.
01 seconds and kick out, while the other security center "warning. " Make sure
it's shouted in a French accent as well.

June 15, 2014 at 4:12AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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