I don't want what I am saying to sound like a prophecy or anything like an analysis of modern society .... these are only feelings I have, and I am the least speculative man on earth.
I would like to make clear that I speak only of sensations. I am neither a sociologist nor a politician. All I can do is imagine for myself what the future will be like.
We are saddled with a culture that hasn't advanced as far as science. Scientific man is already on the moon, and yet we are still living with the moral concepts of Homer. Hence this upset, this disequilibrium that makes weaker people anxious and apprehensive, that makes it so difficult for them to adapt to the mechanism of modern life. ... We live in a society that compels us to go on using these concepts, and we no longer know what they mean. In the future not soon, perhaps by the twenty-fifth century these concepts will have lost their relevance. I can never understand how we have been able to follow these worn-out tracks, which have been laid down by panic in the face of nature. When man becomes reconciled to nature, when space becomes his true background, these words and concepts will have lost their meaning, and we will no longer have to use them.
I want my characters to suggest the background in themselves, even when it is not visible. I want them to be so powerfully realized that we cannot imagine them apart from their physical and social context even when we see them in empty space.
I try to avoid repetitions of any shot. It isn't easy to find one in my films. You might, I suppose, see something twice, but it would be rare. And then, you know, every line requires its own kind of shot. The American method of shooting one actor continuously, then moving to the other, then intercutting both this method is wrong. A scene has to have a rhythm of its own, a structure of its own.
I began taking liberties a long time ago; now it is standard practice for most directors to ignore the rules.
When I am shooting a film I never think of how I want to shoot something; I simply shoot it. My technique, which differs from film to film, is wholly instinctive and never based on a priori considerations.
A director is a man, therefore he has ideas; he is also an artist, therefore he has imagination. Whether they are good or bad, it seems to me that I have an abundance of stories to tell. And the things I see, the things that happen to me, continually renew the supply.
The principle behind the cinema, like that behind all the arts, rests on a choice. It is, in Camus' words, "the revolt of the artist against the real." If one holds to this principle, what difference can it make by what means reality is revealed? Whether the author of a film seizes on the real in a novel, in a newspaper story or in his own imagination, what counts is the way he isolates it, stylizes it, makes it his own.
I find that it is very useful to look over the location and to feel out the atmosphere while waiting for the actors. It may happen that the images before my eyes coincide with those I had in my mind, but this is not frequently the case. It more often happens that there is something insincere or artificial about the image one has thought of. Here again is another way of improvising.
My work is like digging, it's archaeological research among the arid materials of our times. That's how I understand my first films, and that's what I'm still doing...