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Jean Cocteau Quotes
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"A car can massage organs which no masseur can reach. It is the one remedy for the disorders of the great sympathetic nervous system."
"A film is a petrified fountain of thought."
"A true poet does not bother to be poetical. Nor does a nursery gardener scent his roses."
"After the writer's death, reading his journal is like receiving a long letter."
"All good music resembles something. Good music stirs by its mysterious resemblance to the objects and feelings which motivated it."
"An artist cannot speak about his art any more than a plant can discuss horticulture."
"An original artist is unable to copy. So he has only to copy in order to be original."
"Art is a marriage of the conscious and the unconscious."
"Art produces ugly things which frequently become more beautiful with time. Fashion, on the other hand, produces beautiful things which always become ugly with time."
"Being tactful in audacity is knowing how far one can go to far."
"Children and lunatics cut the Gordian knot which the poet spends his life patiently trying to untie."
"Commissions suit me. They set limits. Jean Marais dared me to write play in which he would not speak in the first act, would weep for joy in the second and in the last would fall backward down a flight of stairs."
"Don't for a moment believe He was killing the young; He was costuming angels."
"Everything one does in life, even love, occurs in an express train racing toward death. To smoke opium is to get out of the train while it is still moving. It is to concern oneself with something other than life or death."
"He has the manner of a giant with the look of a child, a lazy activeness, a mad wisdom, a solitude encompassing the world."
"Here I am trying to live, or rather, I am trying to teach the death within me how to live."
"I am a lie who always speaks the truth."
"I believe in luck: how else can you explain the success of those you dislike?"
"I have lost my seven best friends, which is to say God has had mercy on me seven times without realizing it. He lent a friendship, took it from me, sent me another."
"If a hermit lives in a state of ecstasy, his lack of comfort becomes the height of comfort. He must relinquish it."
"If it has to choose who is to be crucified, the crowd will always save Barabbas."
"In Paris, everybody wants to be an actor; nobody is content to be a spectator."
"It is not I who become addicted, it is my body."
"Life is a horizontal fall."
"Man seeks to escape himself in myth, and does so by any means at his disposal. Drugs, alcohol, or lies. Unable to withdraw into himself, he disguises himself. Lies and inaccuracy give him a few moments of comfort."
"Mystery has its own mysteries, and there are gods above gods. We have ours, they have theirs. That is what's known as infinity."
"One must be a living man and a posthumous artist."
"One of the characteristics of the dream is that nothing surprises us in it. With no regret, we agree to live in it with strangers, completely cut off from our habits and friends."
"Poetry is indispensable - if I only knew what for."
"Poets don't draw. They unravel their handwriting and then tie it up again, but differently."
"Silence moves faster when it's going backward."
"Since the day of my birth, my death began its walk. It is walking toward me, without hurrying."
"Such is the role of poetry. It unveils, in the strict sense of the word. It lays bare, under a light which shakes off torpor, the surprising things which surround us and which our senses record mechanically."
"Tact in audacity consists in knowing how far we may go too far."
"Tact in audacity is knowing how far you can go without going too far."
"Take a commonplace, clean it and polish it, light it so that it produces the same effect of youth and freshness and originality and spontaneity as it did originally, and you have done a poet's job. The rest is literature."
"That pile of paper on his left side went on living like the watch on a dead soldier's wrist."
"The actual tragedies of life bear no relation to one's preconceived ideas. In the event, one is always bewildered by their simplicity, their grandeur of design, and by that element of the bizarre which seems inherent in them."
"The ear disapproves but tolerates certain musical pieces; transfer them into the domain of our nose, and we will be forced to flee."
"The extreme limit of wisdom, that's what the public calls madness."
"The greatest masterpiece in literature is only a dictionary out of order."
"The instinct of nearly all societies is to lock up anybody who is truly free. First, society begins by trying to beat you up. If this fails, they try to poison you. If this fails too, the finish by loading honors on your head."
"The joy of youth is to disobey; but the trouble is that there are no longer any orders."
"The Louvre is a morgue; you go there to identify your friends."
"The poet doesn't invent. He listens."
"The poet is a liar who always speaks the truth."
"The poet never asks for admiration; he wants to be believed."
"The reward of art is not fame or success but intoxication: that is why so many bad artists are unable to give it up."
"The trouble about the Academie is that by the time they get around to electing us to a seat, we really need a bed."
"The worst tragedy for a poet is to be admired through being misunderstood."
"There are too many souls of wood not to love those wooden characters who do indeed have a soul."
"There are truths which one can only say after having won the right to say them."
"There is always a period when a man with a beard shaves it off. This period does not last. He returns headlong to his beard."
"True realism consists in revealing the surprising things which habit keeps covered and prevents us from seeing."
"Victor Hugo was a madman who thought he was Vistor Hugo."
"We must believe in luck. For how else can we explain the success of those we don't like?"
"Wealth is an inborn attitude of mind, like poverty. The pauper who has made his pile may flaunt his spoils, but cannot wear them plausibly."
"What the public criticizes in you, cultivate. It is you."
"When a work appears to be ahead of its time, it is only the time that is behind the work."
"You've never seen death? Look in the mirror every day and you will see it like bees working in a glass hive."
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