Reel/Real Impact: Philip Kaufman (Right Stuff) on Great Films

Asked to define great and impactful films, director Philip Kaufman (The Right Stuff, The Unbearable Lightness of Being) said:

“If the movie is very good, it doesn’t end when the credits roll. It follows you out into the street. It transforms everything around you. Maybe you’ll want yo see it again. Maybe something about its images upset or disorient you. But it’s reached you.  It’s awakened you to something you never felt before, or to some idea, image or mode of behavior.

A good movie should leave you changed. Exhilarated. Or at least, blissfully exhausted.

I kept thinking about the time I saw Fellini’s 81/2. I was in New York, an d I remember coming out of the theater, just in total bliss, and the world around me was transformed. I was seeing Fellini characters everywhere. That’s what we go to movie for! You can’t come to the end of a movie and just check your watch and think, OK, where do we go next?


Interviewed by journalist Gene Semour.