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Ken Burns Quotes


An American director and producer of documentary films known for his style of making use of archival footage and photographs.
(1953 - )

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A jazz beat is a dynamic changing rhythm.
 

By its very nature, no one person can ever be the center of jazz.
 

Good history is a question of survival. Without any past, we will deprive ourselves of the defining impression of our being.
 

History is malleable. A new cache of diaries can shed new light, and archeological evidence can challenge our popular assumptions.
 

History's just been made for sale to an inside deal.
 

I am passionately interested in understanding how my country works. And if you want to know about this thing called the United States of America you have to know about the Civil War.
 

I began to feel that the drama of the truth that is in the moment and in the past is richer and more interesting than the drama of Hollywood movies. So I began looking at documentary films.
 

I can understand why some of these drummers and bass players become cult figures with all of their equipment and the incredible amount of technique they have. But there's very little that I think satisfies you intellectually or emotionally.
 

I don't use composers. I research music the way I research the photographs or the facts in my scripts.
 

I enjoy total creative control right now. Nobody tells me to make it longer, shorter, better, sexier, more violent, whatever.
 

I grew up certain for a while that I was going to be an anthropologist, until film turned my head.
 

I have made a film about jazz that tries to look through jazz to see what it tells us about who we are as a people. I think that jazz is a spectacularly accurate model of democracy and a kind of look into our redemptive future possibilities.
 

I have made all my films for my children with the exception of my first film because my oldest daughter wasn't born when I was making the film about the Brooklyn Bridge.
 

I never, ever want to apologize for a film. If it's bad I'll say it's my fault. And that's what I can say so far in all the films that I've done, that if you don't like it, it's entirely my fault.
 

I read cover to cover every jazz publication that I could and in the New York Times, every single day reading their jazz reviews even though I didn't put them in the films. I wanted to know what is going on.
 

I record all of my music with authentic instruments in a studio before we start editing, doing many, many versions. The music shapes the film as we edit so it has an organic relationship to the content.
 

I subscribe to William Faulkner's' view that history is not just about what we were before but who we are now.
 

I think my expectations for myself are much more severe and much more direct. You can't work on a film for six years without being your own toughest critic. So you can't really be distracted by the expectations based on your previous performance.
 

I think the problem with a lot of the fusion music is that it's extremely predictable, it's a rock rhythm and the solos all play the same stuff and they play it over and over again and there's a certain musical virtuosity involved in it.
 

I think we too often make choices based on the safety of cynicism, and what we're lead to is a life not fully lived. Cynicism is fear, and it's worse than fear - it's active disengagement.
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