Jean Cocteau Quotes

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Living is a horizontal fall.
Jean Cocteau (Opium: The Diary of His Cure)
I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul.
Jean Cocteau
Mirrors should think longer before they reflect.
Jean Cocteau
What the public criticizes in you, cultivate. It is you.
Jean Cocteau
The prettiest dresses are worn to be taken off.
Jean Cocteau
If a poet has a dream, it is not of becoming famous, but of being believed.
Jean Cocteau
Be yourself. The world worships the original.
Jean Cocteau
Art is science made clear.
Jean Cocteau
There's no such thing as love; only proof of love.
Jean Cocteau
We must believe in luck. For how else can we explain the success of those we don't like?
Jean Cocteau
The day of my birth, my death began its walk. It is walking toward me, without hurrying.
Jean Cocteau
The poet doesn't invent. He listens.
Jean Cocteau
I am a lie that always speaks the truth.
Jean Cocteau
An artist cannot speak about his art anymore than a plant can discuss horticulture.
Jean Cocteau
I've always preferred mythology to history. History is truth that becomes an illusion. Mythology is an illusion that becomes reality.
Jean Cocteau
I am burning myself up and will always do so.
Jean Cocteau
What uniform can I wear to hide my heavy heart? It is too heavy. It will always show. Jacques felt himself growing gloomy again. He was well aware that to live on earth a man must follow its fashions, and hearts were no longer worn.
Jean Cocteau (Le Grand Ecart / Thomas L'Imposteur / Les Enfants Terribles / Le fantome de (Oeuvres Completes de Jean Cocteau, volume 1))
Art is a marriage of the conscious and the unconscious.
Jean Cocteau
Listen carefully to first criticisms made of your work. Note just what it is about your work that critics don't like - then cultivate it. That's the only part of your work that's individual and worth keeping.
Jean Cocteau
All spiritual journeys are martyrdoms
Jean Cocteau
When I write, I disturb. When I show a film, I disturb. When I exhibit my painting, I disturb, and I disturb if I don't. I have a knack for disturbing.
Jean Cocteau
It is excruciating to be an unbeliever with a spirit that is deeply religious.
Jean Cocteau
A little too much is just enough for me.
Jean Cocteau
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.
Jean Cocteau
The greatest masterpiece in literature is only a dictionary out of order.
Jean Cocteau (Le Potomak)
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.
Jean Cocteau
A true poet does not bother to be poetical. Nor does a nursery gardener scent his roses.
Jean Cocteau
I'm not willing just to be tolerated. That wounds my love of love and of liberty.
Jean Cocteau (The White Book (Le Livre Blanc))
At all costs the true world of childhood must prevail, must be restored; that world whose momentous, heroic, mysterious quality is fed on airy nothings, whose substance is so ill-fitted to withstand the brutal touch of adult inquisition.
Jean Cocteau (The Holy Terrors)
The smell of opium is the least stupid smell in the world.
Jean Cocteau
Lack of manners is the sign of a hero.
Jean Cocteau (Opium: The Diary of His Cure)
An original artist is unable to copy. So he has only to copy in order to be original.
Jean Cocteau
Victor Hugo was a madman who thought he was Victor Hugo
Jean Cocteau
Statues to great men are made of the stones thrown at them in their lifetime.
Jean Cocteau
one should always talk well about oneself! The word spreads around and in the end, noone remembers where it started
Jean Cocteau
There is an angel inside me whom I am constantly shocking.
Jean Cocteau
Every poem is a coat of arms. It must be deciphered. How much blood, how many tears in exchange for these axes, these muzzles, these unicorns, these torches, these towers, these martlets, these seedlings of stars and these fields of blue!
Jean Cocteau
I only fear the death of others. For me, true death is that of the people I love
Jean Cocteau
We are in a period of such individualism that one no longer speaks of disciples; one speaks of thieves.
Jean Cocteau (Opium: The Diary of His Cure)
A man's truest self realizations might require him, above all, to learn to close his eyes: to let himself be taken unawares, to follow his dark angel, to risk his illegal instincts.
Jean Cocteau
What uniform can I wear to hide my heavy heart? It is too heavy. It will always show.
Jean Cocteau (Les Mariés De La Tour Eiffel / [Jean Cocteau; Typographie De Massin])
Without opium, plans, marriages and journeys appear to me just as foolish as if someone falling out of a window were to hope to make friends with the occupants of the room before which he passes.
Jean Cocteau (Opium: The Diary of His Cure)
I succeeded in bewitching a fair number and in being intoxicated with my mistakes.
Jean Cocteau (The Difficulty of Being)
True realism consists in revealing the surprising things which habit keeps covered and prevents us from seeing.
Jean Cocteau
All good music resembles something. Good music stirs by its mysterious resemblance to the objects and feelings which motivated it.
Jean Cocteau
Mystery has its own mysteries, and there are gods above gods. We have ours, they have theirs. That is what's known as infinity.
Jean Cocteau
Watch yourself all your life in a mirror and you'll see Death at work like bees in a glass hive.
Jean Cocteau
Vivre est une chute horizontale
Jean Cocteau
May the devil himself splatter you with dung.
Jean Cocteau (Three Screenplays: L'Eternel Retour, Orphee, La Belle Et La Bete)
Il n'y a pas d'amour, il n'y a que des preuves d'amour.
Jean Cocteau
No se debe confundir la verdad con la opinión de la mayoría.
Jean Cocteau
Poetry, being elegance itself, cannot hope to achieve visibility. It insists on living its own life.
Jean Cocteau
I believe in luck: how else can you explain the success of those you don't like?
Jean Cocteau
Catastrophe, riots, factories blowing up, armies in flight, flood - the ear can detect a whole apocalypse in the starry night of the human body.
Jean Cocteau
Emotion resulting from a work of art is only of value when it is not obtained by sentimental blackmail.
Jean Cocteau
The worst tragedy for a poet is to be admired through being misunderstood.
Jean Cocteau
In two weeks, despite these notes, I shall no longer believe in what I am experiencing now. One must leave behind a trace of this journey which memory forgets. One must, when this is impossible, write or draw without responding to the romantic solicitations of pain, without enjoying suffering like music, tieing a pen to one's foot if need be, helping the doctors who can learn nothing from laziness.
Jean Cocteau (Opium: The Diary of His Cure)
Les miroirs feraient bien de réfléchir un peu plus avant de renvoyer les images.
Jean Cocteau
The world owes its enchantment to these curious creatures and their fancies; but its multiple complicity rejects them. Thistledown spirits, tragic, heartrending in their evanescence, they must go blowing headlong to perdition.
Jean Cocteau (The Holy Terrors)
Youth can only assert itself through the conviction that its ventures surpass all others and resemble nothing.
Jean Cocteau (The Difficulty of Being)
The poet, by composing poems, uses a language that is neither dead nor living, that few people speak, and few people understand … We are the servants of an unknown force that lives within us, manipulates us, and dictates this language to us.
Jean Cocteau
It is excruciating to be an unbeliever with a spirit that is deeply religious... Poetry is a religion without hope.
Jean Cocteau
The purity of a revolution can last a fortnight. That is why a poet, the revolutionary of the soul, limits himself to the about-turns of the mind.
Jean Cocteau
It is dangerous not to conform with people's image of us, because they do not readily retract their opinions.
Jean Cocteau (The Difficulty of Being)
Style is a simple way of saying complicated things.
Jean Cocteau
The poet is a liar who always speaks the truth.
Jean Cocteau
The map of our life is folded in such a way that we cannot see one main road across it, but as it is opened out, we are constantly seeing new side roads. We think we are choosing, and we have no choice.
Jean Cocteau (Μονόπρακτα: Η ανθρώπινη φωνή-Το φάντασμα της Μασσαλίας-Η ψεύτρα-Την έχασα)
When we awake it is the animal, the plant, that thinks in us. Primitive thought without the least disguise. We see a terrible universe, because we see clearly. A little later, intelligence introduces its impeding contrivances. It brings the little toys which man invents in order to hide the void. It is then that we think we are seeing clearly. We attribute our uneasiness to the miasmas of the brain as it passes from dream to reality.
Jean Cocteau
À force de ne jamais réfléchir, on a un bonheur stupide.
Jean Cocteau
Imitate, and what is personal will eventually come despite yourself.
Jean Cocteau
Le cinéma, c'est l'écriture moderne dont l'encre est la lumière.
Jean Cocteau
A film is a petrified fountain of thought.
Jean Cocteau (The Art of Cinema)
I grant you that, if you'll admit, as I do, that we are pawns of an unknown force that lives within us that dictates our actions and compels us to speak this language.
Jean Cocteau
What uniform can I wear to hide my heavy heart? It is too heavy. It will always show
Jean Cocteau
En France, on a d'abord considéré la bonté comme une forme de la bêtise, la méchanceté comme une forme de l'intelligence. Maintenant la politesse est considérée comme du temps perdu.
Jean Cocteau (Beauty and the Beast: Diary of a Film)
We only serve as a model to the portrait of our fame
Jean Cocteau
La mode, c'est ce qui se démode.
Jean Cocteau
He who is affected by an insult is infected by it.
Jean Cocteau
We shelter an angel within us. We must be the guardians of that angel.
Jean Cocteau
There are truths which one can only say after having won the right to say them.
Jean Cocteau
Die meisten Menschen leben in den Ruinen ihrer Gewohnheiten.
Jean Cocteau
I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul.” JEAN COCTEAU
David Dosa (Making Rounds with Oscar: The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary Cat)
A child's reaction to this type of calamity is twofold and extreme. Not knowing how deeply, powerfully, life drops anchor into its vast sources of recuperation, he is bound to envisage, at once, the very worst; yet at the same time, because of his inability to imagine death, the worst remains totally unreal to him. Gerard went on repeating: "Paul's dying; Paul's going to die"' but he did not believe it. Paul's death would be part of the dream, a dream of snow, of journeying forever.
Jean Cocteau (The Holy Terrors)
The obstinate miner of the void exploits his fertile mine
Jean Cocteau (Le Cap De Bonne Esperance Suivi De Discours du Grand Sommeil)
When I make a film, it is a sleep in which I am dreaming.
Jean Cocteau
You’ve never seen death? Look in the mirror every day and you will see it like bees working in a glass hive.
Jean Cocteau
Jean Cocteau--my artist friend since our early days--let himself be guided throughout his full life by the principle: "I love to love. I hate hatred." With all my heart I agree with that, and I have never lost faith in the good. This is a source of strength for my work. Once Cocteau said to me: "Your work contains the fire of the image of man--like the Phoenix . . . " I believe in this light. It will not be extinguished.
Arno Breker
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.
Jean Cocteau (Opium: The Diary of His Cure)
The poet never asks for admiration; he wants to be believed.
Jean Cocteau
Without resistance you can do nothing.
Jean Cocteau
[W]e have a tendency to judge others according to ourselves.
Jean Cocteau (The Art of Cinema)
A picture neither saddening nor gladdening I fear; neither beautiful nor ugly.
Jean Cocteau
Le hasard, c'est la forme que Dieu prend pour passer incognito.
Jean Cocteau
Tact in audacity is knowing how far you can go without going too far.
Jean Cocteau
I constantly regretted having to cut out bits of intense poetry. But one mustn't, at any cost, be seduced by an attractive idea if it hasn't got its right place.
Jean Cocteau (Beauty and the Beast: Diary of a Film)
Poetry is a machine that manufactures love. Its other virtues escape me.
Jean Cocteau (Art & Faith)
Classifiable things reek of death. You must strike out in other spheres . . . quit the ranks. That's the sign of masterpieces and heroes. An original, that's the person to astonish and to rule.
Jean Cocteau
J'exige un vrai bonheur, un vrai amour, une vraie contrée où le soleil alterne avec la lune, où les saisons se déroulent en ordre, où de vrais arbres portent de vrais fruits, où de vrais poissons habitent les rivières, et de vrais oiseaux le ciel, où la vrai neige découvre de vraies fleurs, où tout sort est vrai, vrai, véritable. J’en ai assez de cette lumière morne, de ces campagnes stériles, sans jour, sans nuit, où ne survivent que les bêtes féroces et rapaces, où les lois de la nature ne fonctionnent pas.
Jean Cocteau
It is in this way that a war is disastrous. If it does not kill, it transmits to some an energy alien to their own resources; to others it permits what the law forbids and accustoms them to short cuts. It artificially glorifies ingenuity, pity, daring. A whole younger generation believes itself to be sublime and collapses when it has to draw on itself for patriotism and fate.
Jean Cocteau (The Difficulty of Being)
Man seeks to escape himself in myth, and does so by any means at his disposal… unnable to withdraw into himself, he disguises himself. Lies and inaccuracy give him a few moments of comfort, the trifling feeling of escape experienced at a masked ball. He distances himself from that which he feels and sees. He invents. He transfigures. He mythifies. He creates. He fancies himself an artist. He imitates, in his small way, the painters he claims are mad.
Jean Cocteau
To be moved confuses the soul. One cannot convey these kinds of memories any more than the events of a dream... ...if I have complained too long, it is because my memory, no longer having any fixed abode, has to carry its luggage with it.
Jean Cocteau (The Difficulty of Being)
Čudo, ako potraje, prestaje da bude čudo.Zato priviđenja tako brzo i nestaju.
Jean Cocteau (Thomas the Impostor)
Asking an artist to talk about his work is like asking a plant to discuss horticulture.
Jean Cocteau
Asking an artist to talk about his work is like asking a plant to discuss horticulture.
Jean Cocteau.
What is style? Saying complicated things in a simple way.
Jean Cocteau (The Art of Cinema)
Sentir antes de comprender.
Jean Cocteau
Art is not a pastime but a priesthood.
Jean Cocteau
Si le feu brûlait ma maison, qu’emporterais-je? J’aimerais emporter le feu...
Jean Cocteau
Jeannot la bêtise des amoureux est immense, végétale, animale, astrale. Que faire? Comment te faire comprendre que je n'existe plus en dehors de toi.
Jean Cocteau (Lettres à Jean Marais)
One of the characteristics of the dream is that nothing surprises us in it.
Jean Cocteau
There is neither magic nor master's eye. Only a great deal of love and a great deal of work.
Jean Cocteau
Each day in the mirror I watch death at work.
Jean Cocteau (The Journals of Jean Cocteau)
Tu dis que tu aimes les fleurs et tu leur coupes la queue, tu dis que tu aimes les chiens et tu leur mets une laisse, tu dis que tu aimes les oiseaux et tu les mets en cage, tu dis que tu m’aimes alors moi j’ai peur.
Jean Cocteau
Writing is an act of love. If it is not it is only handwriting. It consists in obeying the driving force of plants and trees and in broadcasting sperm far around us. The richness of the world is in its wastefulness.
Jean Cocteau (The Difficulty of Being)
How admirable the attitude of one who has made good use of the time granted him and who did not interfere by trying to be his own judge. Duration of human life belongs to those who mould each moment, sculpture it and do not trouble about the verdict.
Jean Cocteau (The Difficulty of Being)
Paris, however―because of her purely fortuitous beauty, because of the old things which have become a part of her, because of her entanglement of buildings and tenements―Paris yields herself in discovery as an attic beloved in our childhood gave up its secrets.
Jean Cocteau (The Paris We Love)
I suppose the artists invented the firm breasts they put on women, and that in reality all women had flabby ones.
Jean Cocteau (The White Paper)
Gute Erziehung besteht darin, dass man verbirgt, wieviel man von sich selber hält und wie wenig von den anderen.
Jean Cocteau
« Un beau livre, c'est celui qui sème à foison les points d'interrogation. »
Jean Cocteau
A half empty bottle of wine is also half full, but half a lie will never be half true
Jean Cocteau
J'aime les chats parce que j'aime ma maison. Et qu'ils en deviennent peu à peu l'âme visible.
Jean Cocteau
لا يوجد داء أخطر من الديكتاتورية، إنها تخرب المدن وتطمس العائلات وتبيد البيوت
Jean Cocteau (Antigone)
It is, it seems, a social crime to desire solitude.
Jean Cocteau (The Difficulty of Being)
El poeta es un mentiroso que siempre dice la verdad.
Jean Cocteau
Opium resembles religion insofar as a magician resembles Jesus.
Jean Cocteau
Last night I suffered so much that there was nothing but my pain to distract me from my pain. I had to make it my sole diversion and with good reason. It had thus decreed. It attacked at every point. Then it distributed its troops. It encamped. It so manoeuvred that it was no longer intolerable at any one of its positions, but tolerable at them all. That is to say that the intolerable being distributed, it was this no longer, except as a whole. It was something both tolerable and intolerable. The organ that breaks down and the final chord that goes on for ever.
Jean Cocteau (The Difficulty of Being)
Listen very carefully to the first criticisms of your work. Note just what it is about your work that the reviewers don’t like; it may be the only thing in your work that is original and worthwhile.
Jean Cocteau
My hair has always grown in all directions and my teeth too and my beard. My nerves and my soul must surely grow in the same way. That is what makes me incomprehensible to those who grow all in one direction and are incapable of imagining a hay-stack. It is this that baffles those who could rid me of this legendary leprosy. They do not know how to take me. This organic disorder is a safeguard for me because it keeps the thoughtless at distance. I also get certain advantages from it. It gives me diversity, contrast, a quickness in leaning to one side or the other as this or that object invites me, and in regaining my balance.
Jean Cocteau (The Difficulty of Being)
[C]ourageous film-makers, who take no account of success, prove that cinematography is a medium for realism and lyricism, and that everything depends on the angle from which one observes the spectacle of life ― the angle from which they constrain us to share a singular vision of things and emphasize the everyday miracle that lies within them.
Jean Cocteau (The Art of Cinema)
The amazing advance public attention to this film is surely due not so much to us (I mean to the curiosity our undertaking arouses) as to that Beauty and Beast we thrilled over as children. Happily, there is some remnant of childhood in this jaded public. It is this childhood we must reach. It is the incredulous reserve of the adults that we must overcome.
Jean Cocteau (Beauty and the Beast: Diary of a Film)
« Ce qui caractérise notre époque, c’est la crainte d’avoir l’air bête en décernant une louange, et la certitude d’avoir l’air intelligent en décernant un blâme. »
Jean Cocteau
The knack is art.
Jean Cocteau
plant it It will sprout But forget about the rustic festivities For the explosive word falls harmlessly eternal through the compact generations
Jean Cocteau (Le Cap De Bonne Esperance Suivi De Discours du Grand Sommeil)
La décadence est la grande minute où une civilisation devient exquise.
Jean Cocteau
Delicious was not a term applicable to anything below the crust of that volcano, whose heady vapors numbed his ravished senses.
Jean Cocteau (The Holy Terrors (Les Enfants Terribles) (New Directions Paperbook, Ndp212))
Never, shrieked Paul, would he consent to meet the “filthy Jew”: he was coming along tomorrow at the appointed hour to slap his face.
Jean Cocteau (The Holy Terrors (Les Enfants Terribles) (New Directions Paperbook, Ndp212))
Les expériences dangereuses, le monde les accepte dans le domaine de l’art parce qu’il ne prend pas l’art au sérieux, mais il les condamne dans la vie.
Jean Cocteau
Fashion is everything that goes out of fashion.
Jean Cocteau
Je sais que la poésie est indispensable, mais je ne sais pas à quoi.
Jean Cocteau
I am neither cheerful nor sad. But i can be completely the one or completely the other to excess.
Jean Cocteau (The Difficulty of Being)
Orpheus, with immaculately cut pleated trousers instead of a toga, was played by Jean Marais, Cocteau’s young lover. The leading actress, Maria Casares, was Albert Camus’s mistress.
Clive James (Cultural Amnesia: Necessary Memories from History and the Arts)
When I was little, I didn’t understand that you could change a few sounds in a name or a phrase and have it mean something entirely different. When I told teachers my name was Benna and they said, “Donna who?” I would say, “Donna Gilbert.” I thought close was good enough, that sloppiness was generally built into the language. I thought Bing Crosby and Bill Crosby were the same person. That Buddy Holly and Billie Holiday were the same person. That Leon Trotsky and Leo Tolstoy were the same person. It was a shock for me quite late in life to discover that Jean Cocteau and Jacques Cousteau were not even related. Meaning, if it existed at all, was unstable and could not survive the slightest reshuffling of letters. One gust of wind and Santa became Satan. A slip of the pen and pears turned into pearls. A little interior decorating and the world became her twold, an ungrammatical and unkind assessment of an aging aunt in a singles bar. Add a d to poor, you got droop. It was that way in biology, too. Add a chromosome, get a criminal. Subtract one, get an idiot or a chipmunk. That was the way with things.
Lorrie Moore (Anagrams)
Ma véritable vie est née Après que j’ai connu Jeannot Maintenant nous mélangeons nos Chaussures dans la cheminée ✫ C’est pour toi que je fais des livres Pour toi des pièces et des vers Je les voudrais pareils au givre Que la vitre montre à l’envers ✫ Cette nuit Noël va descendre Pour nous réchauffer un peu Car il – comme la salamandre Pose ses pieds sur le feu. (Poèmes de Noël de Jean Cocteau pour Jean Marais)
Jean Cocteau
I would like to be able to convey to you the sound of dead voices, to break open this unbearable tomb of sound, to wrest something more than silhouettes from vanished years and by some unimaginable trick let you hear the ha-ha-ha with which Catulle Mendès accompanied the slightest sentence, the muffled voice of Edmond Rostand or the laughter which Proust smeared over his face with his white-gloved hand and his beard.
Jean Cocteau (My Contemporaries)
„Wer mein Haus betreten will, der trete ein. Wem es hier gefällt, der bleibe. Ich weigere mich, etwas zu planen. Und wenn man mich fragt, was ich aus meinem Haus mitnehmen würde, wenn es brennt, antworte ich: das Feuer.
Jean Cocteau
Regarde, spectateur, remontée à bloc, de telle sorte que le ressort se déroule avec lenteur tout le long d'une vie humaine, une des plus parfaites machines construites par les dieux infernaux pour l'anéantissement mathématique d'un mortel.
Jean Cocteau (The Infernal Machine and Other Plays)
Children believe what we tell them. They have complete faith in us. They believe that a rose plucked from a garden can plunge a family into conflict. They believe that the hands of a human beast will smoke when he slays a victim, and that this will cause him shame when a young maiden takes up residence in his home. They believe a thousand other simple things. I ask of you a little of this childlike sympathy and, to bring us luck, let me speak four truly magic words, childhood’s “Open Sesame”: Once upon a time…
Jean Cocteau (Beauty and the Beast: Diary of a Film)
Il y a une parte de vérité qui sort de nous que ce n'est pas le rêve, ce n'est pas la rêverie. .... C'est notre vrai moi, il est caché dans les ténèbres, il nous donne désordre....nous voulons travailler sans lui et est alors que nous commettons nos plus graves erreurs.
Jean Cocteau
Истински задълбоченият човек навлиза навътре, а не се изкачва. Дълго след смъртта му откриват забравената колона, одялана от цяла скала, или я изравят къс по къс. Докато посредствените величия, изтъкани от намигвания и ирония, безпрепятствено се изкатерват до корнизчето на властта.
Jean Cocteau (Thomas the Impostor)
По едно време, в началото, аз те ревнувах и от съня ти. Питах се: къде ли отива, когато спи? Какво вижда? А ти се усмихваше, протягаше се, затова аз започнах да мразя хората, които сънуваш. Често те будех, за да ги пропъдиш. Но ти обичаше да сънуваш и се разяряваше, че те събуждам. Не можех да понасям невъзмутимата ти физиономия.
Jean Cocteau
...I have come to realize that the rhythm of the film is one of narrative. I am telling the story. It is as if I were hidden behind the screen, saying: "Then such and such a thing happened." The characters don't seem to be living a life of their own, but a life that is being narrated. Perhaps that's how it should be in a fairy tale.
Jean Cocteau (Beauty and the Beast: Diary of a Film)
Η αισθητική της αποτυχίας είναι η μόνη αυθεντική. Εκείνος που δεν κατανοεί τη αποτυχία είναι χαμένος. Η σπουδαιότητα της αποτυχίας είναι θεμελιώδης. Δε μιλώ για το αντικείμενο της αποτυχίας. Αν δεν έχει συλλάβει κανείς αυτό το μυστικό, αυτή την αισθητική, αυτή την ηθική της αποτυχίας, δεν έχει καταλάβει τίποτα και η δόξα παραμένει κενή.
Jean Cocteau (Opium: The Diary of His Cure)
دوست نمى‏دارم به خواب اندر شوم شباهنگام که چهره‏ى تو بر شانه‏ى من است که در اندیشه‏ى آن مرگم من که، بارى، خواهد آمد تا به خوابى جاودانه‏مان فرو برد من بخواهم مُرد. تو بخواهى زیست. و این است آن‏چه خوابم از دیده مى‏برد این خود آیا هراسى دیگر است؟ روزى که دیگر زیر گوش ِ خویش بنشنوم نفس تو را و قلب تو را شگفتا! این پرنده‏ى پُر آزرم که چنین بى‏خیال برخود خمیده آشیانه تهى خواهد نهاد آشیانى که در آن، جسم ما برمى‏آساید جسمى یگانه، با دو جفت پا و دو سر خرّمى ِ عظیمى از این دست – که سپیده‏دمان به پایان مى‏رسد - ادامه مى‏توانست یافت تا فرشته‏یى که وظیفه‏دار ِ بازگشودن راه من است از سنگینى ِ بار ِ سرنوشتم بتواند کاست سبکبالم، من سبکبالم زیر بار این سر ِ پُربار که به جسم من ماننده است و به رغم آواز خروس، در پناه من کور و لال و ناشنوا به جاى مى‏ماند این سر ِ جداشده‏یى که به دنیاهاى دیگر سفر کرده است بدان جاى‏ها که قوانینى دیگر حکومت مى‏کند غوطه‏ور ِ خواب ِ ریشه‏هاى پُر از عمق دور از من، در بر من آه چه مشتاقم همچنان که چهره‏ى تو را با دهان خواب آلودت بر شانه‏ى خویش دارم تنفس گلوگاه جان‏بخشت را تا آستانه‏ى مرگ از پستان‏هایت بشنوم ژان کوکتو **دوست نمى‏دارم به خواب اندر شوم
Jean Cocteau
The historical truth is a fiction. OK, I did whatever I could to find out what happened from surviving friends, family and media, but that is simply a skeleton upon which the story is draped. This is the unmasking of the myth, and, as Jean Cocteau put it: “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.” I wanted to go beyond a recreation of the past to discover meaning in the degradation of my addiction experience. The past is another country and not my prime interest. It’s more what the past can tell us about how we deal with the present moment. - William Pryor
William Pryor (The Survival of the Coolest: A Darwin's Death Defying Journey Into the Interior of Addiction)
Success had put me on the wrong track and I did not know that there is a kind of success worse than failure, and a kind of failure worth all the success in the world. Neither did I know that the distant friendship of Rainer Maria Rilke would one day console me for having seen his lamp burn without knowing that it was signalling me to go and singe my wings against its flame.
Jean Cocteau
That is what's important. The life of the line. When I draw, it's like tied and untied writing. My lines can be vivid or dead. The drawing is beautiful if the line is alive. A line is in danger of dying all along. My method of drawing is very much like jazz improvisation. I improvise with the lines and the colors. (...) There's great joy in drawing. Writing is drawing in different apparel, and drawing is another way of writing. And when I draw, I write. Perhaps when I write, I draw.
Jean Cocteau
Many years ago, as I was glancing through a catalogue of jokes for parties and weddings, I saw an item, 'An object difficult to pick up'. I haven't the slightest idea what that 'object' is or what it looks like, but I like knowing that it exists and I like thinking about it. A work of art should also be 'an object difficult to pick up'. It must protect itself from vulgar pawing, which tarnishes and disfigures it. It should be made of such a shape that people don't know which way to hold it, which embarrasses and irritates the critics, incites them to be rude, but keeps it fresh. The less it's understood, the slower it opens its petals, the later it will fade. A work of art must make contact, be it even through a misunderstanding, but at the same time it must hide its riches, to reveal them little by little over a long period of time. A work that doesn't keep its secrets and surrenders itself too soon exposes itself to the risk of withering away, leaving only a dead stalk.
Jean Cocteau (Cocteau on the Film)
Last month, coming out of the Rue d'Athènes, where they were showing Le Sang d'un Poète, I told Gide that I couldn't bear to see the film again because each shot is so slow. He replied that I was wrong, that this slowness was a rhythm, and that these slow shots coming one after another formed a special tempo, my tempo, a procedure of my own. No doubt he's right, and it would be dangerous to upset a rhythm that comes from within oneself, through fear of this rhythm, and to impose another, artificial, one which would not suit it.
Jean Cocteau (Beauty and the Beast: Diary of a Film)
The only tragic part of the making of La Belle et la Bête was Jean Marais's terrible make-up which used to take five hours and from which he emerged as though after a surgical operation. Laurence Olivier said to me one day that he would never have had the strength to undergo such torture. I maintain that it took Marais's passion for his profession and his love for his dog to have persisted with such fortitude to pass from the human race into the animal one. What was in fact due to the genius of an actor was ascribed by the critics to the perfection of a mask. But there was no mask, and to live the part of the beast, Marais in his dressing-room went through the terrible phases of Dr. Jekyll's transformation into Mr. Hyde.
Jean Cocteau (Cocteau on the Film)
I was delighted to hear that a number of people returned to see Orphée (as much as five or six times), to the amazement of the managements. This is significant, for the cinema is usually regarded as a place where one drops in for a little entertainment as one would for a glass of beer. This is why film societies, those Courts of Appeal, have so important a part to play, and why they deserve all the support we can give them. This is why I accepted nomination as President of the fédération des Cinéclubs. But, alas, even film societies are sometimes unable to retrieve old films, which the industrial squall sweeps away in order to clear a space for new ones. We had imagined that great actresses like Greta Garbo would be granted the privilege which was denied to a Rachel or a Sarah Bernhardt. But we were wrong. Today it is impossible to show Garbo in The lady of the Camelias for instance, to the young people who could not see the film when it came out, for all the copies have been meticulously destroyed. The lady of the Camelias is to be remade with new stars and new methods, using all the latest technical inventions, colour, three dimensions, and what not. It is a real disaster. Mrs B., the head of the new York Film Library, finds herself confronted with the same difficulties as Langlois of the Cinémathèque française whenever she endeavours to save a film from oblivion. She finds that she cannot obtain a single copy. Chaplin alone escapes that terrible destruction, because he is his own firm and consequently would not fall victim to the perpetual clearing. It is none the less true that fabulous sums are demanded for the showing of any one of his films, and if his very early films are still available it is because the present destructive legislation had not come into force when they were made. This is why René Clair demands the passing of a law of copyright deposit.
Jean Cocteau (Cocteau on the Film)
I have decided to write a diary of La Belle et la Bête as the work on the film progresses. After a year of preparations and difficulties, the moment has now come to grapple with a dream. Apart from the numerous obstacles which exist in getting a dream onto celluloid, the problem is to make a film within the limits imposed by a period of austerity. But perhaps these limitations may stimulate imagination, which is often lethargic when all means are placed at its disposal. Everybody knows the story by madame Leprince de Beaumont, a story often attributed to Perrault, because it is found next to "Peau d'Ane" between those bewitching covers of the Bibliothèque Rose. The postulate of the story requires faith, the faith of childhood. I mean that one must believe implicitly at the very beginning and not question the possibility that the mere picking of a rose might lead a family into adventure, or that a man can be changed into a beast, and vice versa. Such enigmas offend grown-ups who are readily prejudiced, proud of their doubt, armed with derision. But I have the impudence to believe that the cinema which depicts the impossible is apt to carry conviction, in a way, and may be able to put a "singular" occurrence into the plural. It is up to us (that is, to me and my unit―in fact, one entity) to avoid those impossibilities which are even more of a jolt in the midst of the improbable than in the midst of reality. For fantasy has its own laws which are like those of perspective. You may not bring what is distant into the foreground, or render fuzzily what is near. The vanishing lines are impeccable and the orchestration so delicate that the slightest false note jars. I am not speaking of what I have achieved, but of what I shall attempt within the means at my disposal. My method is simply: not to aim at poetry. That must come of its own accord. The mere whispered mention of its name frightens it away. I shall try to build a table. It will be up to you then to eat at it, to examine it or to chop it up for firewood.
Jean Cocteau (Beauty and the Beast: Diary of a Film)
My intention, this time, was to transfer a play to the screen while keeping its theatrical character. It was in some senses a matter of walking, invisibly, around the stage and catching the different aspects and nuances in the play, the urgency and the facial expressions that escape a spectator who cannot follow them in detail from a seat in the stalls. Apart from that, I had noticed how effective a play becomes when you have a bird's-eye view from it, for example from the flies, that is to say from the viewpoint of a voyeur. The Audience is enclosed with the characters in a room lacking its fourth wall and listens to them on equal terms, without the element of my story conferred on scenes of intimacy by the whimsical shape of a keyhole.” “L'aigle à deux têtes is not History. It is a story, an invented story lived out by imaginary heroes, and I should never have dared venture into the realistic world of cinema without being able to rely on the help of Christian Bérard. He has a genius for situating whatever he touches, for giving it a depth in time and space and an appearance of truth that are literally inimitable.” (...) “A drama of this kind would be unacceptable, and almost impossible to tell, unless it was interpreted by superb actors who could instill grandeur and life into it. Edwige Feuillère and Jean Marais, applauded evening after evening in their parts in the play, surpass themselves on the screen and give of themselves, as I suggested above, everything that they cannot give us on the stage.” “George Auric's music and the Strauss waltzes at the krantz ball make up the liquid in this drama of love and death is immersed.” (...) “In L'aigle à deux têtes, I wanted to make a theatrical film.” (...) “I know the faults of the film, but unfortunately the expense of the medium and the constraints of time that it imposes on us, prevent us from correcting our faults, Cinematography costs too much.” (...) “In Les parents terribles (1948), what I determined to do was the opposite of what I did in L'aigle à deux têtes; to de-theatricalize a play, to film it in chronological order and to catch the characters by surprise from the indiscreet angle of the camera. In short, I wanted to watch a family through the keyhole instead of observing its life from a seat in the stalls.
Jean Cocteau (The Art of Cinema)
La poésie ressemble à la mort. Je connais son œil bleu. Il donne la nausée. Cette nausée d'architecte toujours taquinant le vide, voilà le propre du poète. Le poète est, comme nous, invisible aux vivants.
Jean Cocteau
Quels sont mes vrais héros ? Des sentiments. Des figures abstraites qui n'en vivent pas moins et dont les exigences sont extrêmes.
Jean Cocteau
I have always preferred mythology to history. Because history is made up of truths which eventually turn into lies. Mythology is made up of lies that eventually become truths.
Jean Cocteau
All Picasso's portraits of me are lies. They're all Picassos. Not one is Dora Maar
Louise Baring (Dora Maar: Paris in the Time of Man Ray, Jean Cocteau, and Picasso)
Seven Versions" 1. The Kiss Massive languor, languor hammered; Sentient languor, languor dissected; Languor deserted, reignite your sidereal fires; Holier languor, arise from love. The wood’s owl has come home. 2. Beyond Sunlight I can’t shakle one of your ankles as if you were a falcon, but nothing can prevent me from following, no matter how far, even beyond sunlight where Jesus becomes visible: I’ll follow, I will wait, I will never give up until I understand why you are going away from me. 3. A Man Wound His Watch In the darkness the man wound his watch before secreting it under his pillow. Then he went to sleep. Outside, the wind was blowing. You who comprehend the repercussions of the faintest gesture—you will understand. A man, his watch, the wind. What else is there? 4. For Which There Is No Name Let me have what the tree has and what it can never lose, let me have it and lose it again, blurred lines the wind draws with the darkness it gets from summer nights, formless indescribable darkness. Either give me back my gladness, or the courage to think about how it was lost to me. Give me back, not what I see, but my sight. Let me meet you again owning nothing but what is in the past. Let me inherit the very thing I am forbidden. And let me continue to seek, though I know it is futile, the only heaven that I could endure: unhurting you. 5. The Composer People said he was overly fond of the good life and ate like a pig. Yet the servant who brought him his chocolate in bed would sometimes find him weeping quietly, both plump pink hands raised slightly and conducting, evidently, in small brief genuflective feints. He experienced the reality of death as music. 6. Detoxification And I refuse to repent of my drug use. It gave me my finest and happiest hours. And I have been wondering: will I use drugs again? I will if my work wants me to. And if drugs want me to. 7. And Suddenlty It’s Night You stand there alone, like everyone else, the center of the world’s attention, a ray of sunlight passing through you. And suddenly it’s night. Franz Wright, iO: A Journal of New American Poetry, Vol I Issue I . (May 15th, 2011) The individual sections of “Seven Versions” ia based, loosely—some very loosely—on poems by Rene Char, Rumi, Yannis Ritsos, Natan Zach, Günther Eich, Jean Cocteau, and Salvatore Quasimodo.
Franz Wright
Cet amour le ravageait d’autant plus qu’il précédait la connaissance de l’amour. C’était un mal vague, intense, contre lequel il n’existe aucun remède, un désir chaste sans sexe et sans but.
Jean Cocteau
But it is not glorious lulls that concern me. It is the lulls that have no velocity, that offer no structured reassurance, that bloom unbidden in the middle of nowhere—when the work is done, when children leave, when illness comes, when the mind stalls. One does not ask of a lull: What can you do for me? These lulls do not have the quality of idyllic floatiness we associate with creative loafing, vacations, or leisure time. (If they did, we might fight them less readily and feel less personal distress.) These lulls carry a restive feeling, the throb of being simultaneously too full and too empty. They evoke what Jean Cocteau once described as “the discomfort of infinity.” What if we could imagine a lull as neither fatal nor glorious? What if a lull was just a lull?
Kyo Maclear, Birds Art Life: A Year of Observation
The worst tragedy for a poet is to be admired through being misunderstood. –
Jean Cocteau
A half empty bottle of wine is also half full, but a half lie will never be half true
Jean Cocteau
C’est la maison qui m’attendait. J’en habite le refuge, loin des sonnettes du Palais-Royal. Elle me donne l’exemple de l’absurde entêtement magnifique des végétaux. J’y retrouve les souvenirs de campagnes anciennes où je rêvais de Paris comme je rêvais plus tard, à Paris, de prendre la fuite. L’eau des douves et le soleil peignent sur les parois de ma chambre leurs faux marbres mobiles. Le printemps jubile partout.
Jean Cocteau (The Difficulty of Being)
Ensuite [Madeleine Castaing] avait engagé comme comptable Paul de Saint-Sauveur, un comte désargenté contraint lui aussi de gagner sa vie. 'Il apparaît dans la boutique en habits de chasse à courre', note Jean Cocteau dans son journal en septembre 1951. [...] Un jour où elle lui avait demandé de faire une livraison chez une personnalité de la télévision, le client remercia le comptable en lui donnant un généreux pourboire. 'Un pourboire au comte de Saint-Sauveur? Comment a-t-il osé!' Madeleine, qui manqua d'éclater de rire, fit l'impossible pour calmer sa fureur et son orgeuil blessé.
Jean-Noël Liaut (Madeleine Castaing Mécène à Montparnasse, décoratrice à Saint-Germain)
Si je préfère les chats aux chiens, c'est parce qu'il n'y a pas de chat policier
Jean Cocteau
Having set its mark on the generation before Cocteau’s, symbolism expressed a form of inner dissidence confronting the narrow-minded materialism and utilitarian obsession of the industrial revolution, and hence a reaction to triumphant naturalism, in literature at least. Nourished by medieval, Renaissance, and Romantic art, symbolism, probably the last great backward-looking movement hatched in the West, had given rise to a desire to explore the secrets of the world and the confines of the soul. Beyond its androgynous Mercuries, its pale Narcissuses, and its Orpheuses borne by rosaries of angels, it gave rise to a whole misty alchemy wherein some found their way into esotericism and even into the religious, since the Universe was only the symbol of another world into which entrance was gained not only through poetry, spiritualism, dreams, and the Ideal, but also via the play of analogies and the study of ciphers.
Claude Arnaud (Jean Cocteau)
– Si votre maison brûlait, qu’emporteriez- vous ? – J’emporterais le feu.
Jean Cocteau
For there were many who defined art, with Proust, as the mark of transformation that the artist makes reality undergo: to create meant to amplify, to distort, to make mythical, if possible.
Claude Arnaud (Jean Cocteau: A Life)
Art is not a pastime, but a priesthood.
Jean Cocteau
Les français sont des italiens sont des français de mauvaise humeur.
Jean Cocteau
I francesi sono degli italiani di cattivo umore.
Jean Cocteau
For me, walking in a hard Dakota wind can be like staring at the ocean: humbled before its immensity, I also have a sense of being at home on this planet, my blood so like the sea in chemical composition, my every cell partaking of air. I live about as far from the sea as is possible in North America, yet I walk in a turbulent ocean. Maybe that child was right when he told me that the world is upside-down here, and this is where angels drown. Listening to the voice of the sky, I wonder: how do we tell our tales, how can we hope to record them? I’d like to believe that deep in our bones the country people of Dakota, like poets, like monks, are, as Jean Cocteau once said of poetry, “useless but indispensable.
Kathleen Norris (Dakota: A Spiritual Geography (Dakotas))
Bresson est "à part" dans ce métier terrible. Il s'exprime cinématographiquement comme un poète par la plume. Vaste est l'obstacle entre sa noblesse, son silence, son sérieux, ses rêves et tout un monde où ils passent pour de l'hésitation et de la manie.
Jean Cocteau (Du cinématographe)
Invoqué ou non invoqué, Le divin sera présent.
Jean Cocteau (L'aigle à deux têtes)
Jean Cocteau, the French writer, artist and film director was once asked if he believed in luck. ‘Of course,’ he replied. ‘How else do you explain the success of those you don’t like?
Ashwin Sanghi (13 Steps to Bloody Good Luck)
I have known fantaisistes in whom phantasy was as it were organic and who died of it. I felt in them a kind of mild madness very dangerous both for themselves and for their friends. Despite the respect which all existence that does not spare itself inspires in us, none the less they fill us with uneasiness. For these fantaisistes are usually mythomaniacs, and sometimes their aim is to hold not our attention but our hearts. If they succeed in this, it means that they are neither frivolous nor given to phantasy, but that they appear so because of their clumsiness in convincing us, from a modesty of spirit which impels them to try to appear exceptional, from a desire to enter into our scheme of things from their remorse at having thought themselves indiscreet. This remorse inveigles them into flights, into total eclipses, into punishments which they inflict upon themselves and of which I could quote appalling instances. The world in which they live makes contact with them very difficult for us, since the least word, the least gesture on our part (and which we thought of no significance) sets in motion in them incredible deviations which may lead them even to suicide. One must therefore shun them from the beginning, however much they may beguile us in a world where fire is rare and never fails to attract us.
Jean Cocteau (The Difficulty of Being)
Art according to art! Love according to love! This is taking the salt away from Heaven. Do you think Our Savior tries to make Himself talked about? He does not ask to be recopied. God cannot be deified without ridicule. He likes to be lived. Dead languages are dead. One must translate Him into all the living languages, and help Him to hide Himself to do good just as the Devil hides himself to do evil.
Jean Cocteau (Art & Faith)
Un vaso medio vacío de vino, es también uno medio lleno; pero una mentira a medias, de ningún modo es una media verdad.
Jean Cocteau
Eu nu am nici o opinie şi nu aparţin nici unui mediu.Eu mă adresez todeauna celor care se străduiesc cu disperare să fie liberi şi care probabil,ca şi mine,aşteaptă să fie loviţi din toate părţile,şi asta în asemenea măsură încât,atunci când li se fac complimente,se întreabă dacă nu s-au făcut vinovaţi de vreo greşeală.
Jean Cocteau
Am scris adeseori că spiritul creator nu este altceva decât spiritul de contradicţie sub forma lui cea mai înaltă.
Jean Cocteau
E foarte primejdios să vrei numai ordinea şi să nu creezi şi un fel de dezordine,în care sufletul să ştie a se descurca,în loc să se usuce printre linii moarte.
Jean Cocteau
Nu vă mulţumiţi cu acele întâlniri în timpul cărora daţi pe gât tot felul de alcooluri,fără să vă spuneţi nimic.
Jean Cocteau
Unii sunt ocupaţi cu absurda măreţie a visului,în timp ce ceilalţi făptuiesc şi nu visează.Ceea ce provoacă pe nesimţite o circulaţie de unde contrarii pe care sufletul le înregistrează,în timp ce mintea nu-i capabilă de a le descifra.
Jean Cocteau
Too many milieux injure an adaptable sensibility. There was once a chameleon whose owner, to keep it warm, put it on a gaudy Scottish plaid. The chameleon died of fatigue. —JEAN COCTEAU, LE POTOMAK
Clive James (Cultural Amnesia: Necessary Memories from History and the Arts)
Croyez-vous qu'on ne puisse prendre le mal d'amour en touchant l'or et la pourpre? Les privilèges dont vous parlez ne sont-ils pas la substance même de Jocaste et si étroitement enchevêtrés à ses organes qu'on ne puisse les désunir. De toute éternité nous appartenions l'un à l'autre. Son ventre cache les plis et replis d'un manteau de pourpre beaucoup plus royal que celui qu'elle agrafe sur ses épaules. Je l'aime, je l'adore, Tirésias, auprès d'elle il me semble que j'occupe enfin ma vraie place;
Jean Cocteau (La Machine Infernale)
Es muss so etwas wie Glück geben. Wie sonst würden wir uns den Erfolg derjenigen erklären, die wir nicht mögen?
Jean Cocteau
At the circus, a careless mother may let her child take part in the experiments of a Chinese magician. He puts him in a box. He opens the box; it's empty. He closes it again. He opens it; the child reappears and goes back to his seat. Now it is no longer the same child. Nobody doubts it.
Jean Cocteau (Le Grand Écart)
Jacques' life was like the rooms of Montmartre women that are never cleaned because they get up at four o'clock and slip a coat over their nightgown to go downstairs and eat.
Jean Cocteau (Le Grand Écart)
Cocteau fell for Raray [shooting La Belle et la Bête] ― the park, not the castle. We didn't shoot in the castle, only in the park, with that marvelous hunting scene in stone. I think it was mostly because the park wasn't properly maintained. That was what pleased Cocteau most ― the sense of wildness, exactly matching the nature of the beast.
Jean Marais
His work kept on living, like the watches on the wrists of dead soldiers. [Said of Marcel Proust]
Jean Cocteau
It is sometimes helpful for the magickian to stand the world on its head. This helps to bring forth the Hidden Reality. The magickian is always seeking to go beyond Surface Reality. Therefore, many great magickians will deliberately work for the opposite of that which they wish to manifest, knowing that the mind is a trickster and when you ask it for one thing, it will often give you the exact opposite of what you want. Jean Cocteau was a French poet, novelist, dramatist, designer, boxing manager, playwright, artist and filmmaker. Along with other avant-garde artists of his generation, Cocteau grappled with the algebra of verbal codes old and new. He revealed 'I am a lie who always speaks the truth.' This is why it is so important to get rid of any raw needs, demands, and insistence within you.
Laurence Galian (Beyond Duality: The Art of Transcendence)