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Interview: The Godfather of film

By Stephanie West

Updated on 15 May 2009

Director of The Godfather, Francis Ford Coppola, talks to Stephanie West, about returning to the Cannes Film Festival with his new film, Tetro; success; and the changes to the movie business.

Francis Ford Coppola

He describes the small-budget Tetro, which he funded himself, as "more what we call 'guerrilla' film making, and yet trying to make it be beautiful".

"The Godfather changed my life," he says. "I wasn't prepared for that kind of success. Success they say, is in a way more difficult to deal with than failure."

He says having made his wealth outside the movie business, he feels "a little bit like those guys who did art because they wanted to."

"I make movies because I love to do it, not to be successful or to further my career, he says. "My career - I'm already famous, or I was. It does give you a certain chance to just focus on what you love.

"I've always said even when I was younger, 'I want to be an amateur' because the word means you do it because you love it. Not to make a living, not to be rich, not to be famous, but to do something that you love."

He describes how the film business has "changed dramatically" saying: "when you go to the movies don't you feel like you've already seen that movie because you have, because the movie is like the formula of a soft drink.

"People are going to the movies because a movie is a cheap vacation today. It's a very good time for attendance, so the movie companies are answering to the people they work for who need that money to sure up their stocks so they can do the next leverage buy-out.

"It's a different kind of a world."

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