I’ve never forgotten an alleged Francois Truffaut quote about his concept of success. In 1957 at age 25, Truffaut launched a production company, Les Films du Carrosse, and went on to produce 35 films. (Truffaut died in 1984 at age 52.) What he said was that “when one of our films goes into profit, we open a bottle of champagne.”
From a 2016 American perspective, that’s an attitude of a loser, a small-timer, a producer who doesn’t have what it takes. But I think it’s great. Because it tells you that all Truffaut and associates wanted was enough profit to stay in the game. Because they loved making films, and the process of making them was its own reward.
I think we all understand that Dwayne Johnson, Vin Diesel and Zack Snyder, who are emblematic of a kind of cancer in today’s film industry, couldn’t understand Truffaut’s attitude.
Yesterday Gael Garcia Bernal (Neruda) articulated a similar fraternal philosophy during a opening-night event at the Morelia Film Festival:
“There’s a culture of friendship in Latin American cinema, between people like Alfonso Cuaron, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and Guillermo del Toro, which they in turn inherited from others. They’re a sensation of brotherhood, that people care about you, look after you, which we’ve sought to maintain consciously. That ‘brotherhood’ is the best way to survive, to make better films, but it also a way of coming close to the biggest reason to make films.
“Filmmaking for me is like a fraternal act, like being with your family, and feeling that what we’re doing, when the film is over and makes some impact, is worth it. That intense encounter with all those people flowers, emanates forever. You’re a kind of cousin, brother, lover, father or son of all those people with whom you’ve worked. It’s a beautiful sensation.”