Critically acclaimed director Sidney Lumet passed away on 9th April. Described by Woody Allen as "the quintessential New York filmmaker", he was regarded as the master of cinematic craft.
He was a thoughtful director, who gathered the best collaborators he could find and channeled their resources into a focused vision. He shared his thoughts about that in his 1996 book "Making Movies." If you care to read only one book about the steps in the making of a film, make it that one. There is not a boast in it, not a word of idle puffery. It is all about the work.
Here is a wonderful interview with him from which ends with the some great answers to these questions:
Do you think movies can change anything, can they be a force for social change?
"No, I don't think art changes anything."
So why make movies?
"I do it because i like it and it's a wonderful way to spend your life."
If you are not familiar with his movies, here's a selection of trailers.
RIP Sidney Lumet, 1924-2011.
12 Angry Men
Dog Day Afternoon
On a personal note, the following scene is one of the most memorable scenes I remember watching when I was a child (I think I first watched Dog Day Afternoon in the late 70s/early 80s). "Attica, Attica, Attica!"
Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
From Roger Ebert - Sidney Lumet: In memory
From the Guardian - Sidney Lumet: a career in clips
From the BBC - Director Sidney Lumet remembered by Hollywood stars