From Woody Allen to David Cronenberg, the Coen brothers to Lars Von Trier, all film directors run up against the same essential concerns: how to direct actors, for example, or whether to preplan camera angles. In interviewing these and 16 other notable filmmakers, journalist and screenwriter Tirard finds notable affinities between seemingly dissimilar directors. Tim Burton and Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amelie) both recommend starting out in animation, for example, while Wong Kar-Wai and David Lynch both select their music far in advance and even play it during filming. Most of the responses will come as no surprise to those familiar with the interviewees' work. Martin Scorsese, who has rather strong opinions about which camera lenses to use, believes that ""the more personal the film, the more it can claim to be art."" Violence impresario Takeshi Kitano, by comparison, describes film as ""a succession of perfect images."" All in all, Tirard's healthy balance of nuts-and-bolts information and conceptual musings should be of interest to lay readers as well as would-be auteurs. And the filmographies listed at the end of each interview serve as useful checklists for anyone inspired by these well-reasoned, hard-earned life lessons.