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Jean Cocteau Quotes

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Jean Cocteau
July 5, 1889 - October 11, 1963
Nationality: French
Category: Director
Subcategory: French Director

After the writer's death, reading his journal is like receiving a long letter.


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.


There are too many souls of wood not to love those wooden characters who do indeed have a soul.


The Louvre is a morgue; you go there to identify your friends.


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.


The ear disapproves but tolerates certain musical pieces; transfer them into the domain of our nose, and we will be forced to flee.


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.


Whatever the public blames you for, cultivate it; it is yourself.


Poets don't draw. They unravel their handwriting and then tie it up again, but differently.


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.


When a work appears to be ahead of its time, it is only the time that is behind the work.


Children and lunatics cut the Gordian knot which the poet spends his life patiently trying to untie.


Emotion resulting from a work of art is only of value when it is not obtained by sentimental blackmail.


I am a lie who always speaks the truth.


The poet doesn't invent. He listens.


A film is a petrified fountain of thought.


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.


Style is a simple way of saying complicated things.


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.


I have a piece of great and sad news to tell you: I am dead.


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