Jack Cardiff — Black Narcissus, The Red Shoes "When I was about nine, one of the schools I attended while accompanying my parents on tour organized a trip to a provincial art gallery. I had never seen a painting before, and suddenly I was in this vast chamber filled with these wondrous color dreams. That really got to me, and thereafter, wherever I traveled with my parents, I went to as many museums as I could. Painters were my childhood heroes, and as I studied their work, I began to realize that it was all about light."
Kazuo Miyagawa — Rashomon, Ugetsu "[In my house in Kyoto] there was a backyard right behind a completely dark kitchen. The sunlight came through a window on the ceiling, which made only the well bucket in the backyard shine. Such a view that I saw when I was a child left an unexpectedly strong impression on my mind… even though I was one of those children who were so shy that they would not go outside but stayed in a dark corner of the house."
Subrata Mitra — Pather Panchali, Charulata "Little did I know that my habitual cycling down with schoolmates to a nearby cinema for the Sunday morning shows, to watch British and Hollywood films from our lowest-priced seats, would secretly decide my fate. I was discovering the magic of film and was fascinated by the dramatic images with low-key lighting in Guy Green’s photography for Great Expectations and Oliver Twist, or Robert Krasker’s for The Third Man. I became aware of the medium of cinematography and the urge to become a cameraman was sown.”
Emmanuel Lubezki — Children of Men, The Tree of Life "My parents took me to see movies when I was a boy. I remember watching Italian movies and films from America without reading the subtitles. I was always interested in watching the images, even if I didn’t understand the words… [In high school] all the people in one class spent a full year working together on the production of a documentary that dealt with everything from social classes to natural science. We went to Vera Cruz and made a documentary about workers in the sugar cane fields. Other people were interested in doing the research and journalism; for me, the magic moment happened when I was looking through the viewfinder on a Super 8 camera and shooting the film."
Mark Lee Ping-bin — In the Mood for Love, Millennium Mambo "When I was a kid, every day after school I’d catch my mom get busy, run off to the cinema near our home, hide behind an adult’s ass and sneak inside. Every time I got home, mom would get furious. ‘Where have you disappeared to?’ For punishment she made me kneel before father’s memorial tablet. Cinema is fantasy. As a child I had nothing, so I was always dreaming, and going to the movies for comfort."
Agnès Godard — Beau Travail, Bastards "[My family] wasn’t particularly connected to movies or photography but I’ve always been fascinated by images. My father, a taciturn man, expressed himself through the family pictures he took. To this day I find family pictures particularly troubling and moving, because they’re made out of love, not for commercial reasons… I had the feeling that you could tell a story through pictures. When I was at school I was very shy and knew that I could not write a script, but when we had to shoot short films I became very excited and decided to listen to my inner voice."