“The beings I love are creatures. They were born by chance. My meeting them was also by chance. They will die. What they think, do, and say is limited and is a mixture of good and evil.”
- Simone Weil (from Gravity and Grace).
“Something we were withholding made us weak, until we found out it was ourselves.”
- Robert Frost
“[What Sebastian] liked above all was to cycle in the dusk along a certain path skirting meadows. There, he would sit on a fence looking at the wispy salmon-pink clouds turning to a dull copper in the pale evening sky and think about things. What things? That cockney girl with her soft hair still in plaits whom he once followed across the common, and accosted and kissed, and never saw again? The form of a particular cloud? Some misty sunset beyond a black Russian fir-wood (oh, how much I would give for such a memory coming to him!)? The inner meaning of grassblade and star? the unknown language of silence? the terrific weight of a dew-drop? the heartbreaking beauty of a pebble among millions and millions of pebbles, all making sense, but what sense? The old, old question of Who are you?
- Excerpted from Vladimir Nabokov’s The Real Life of Sebastian Knight.
It is the unique power of cinema to allow a great many people to dream the same dream together and to present illusions to us as if it were strict reality. It is, in short, an admirable vehicle for poetry. My film is nothing other than a striptease act, gradually peeling away my body to reveal my naked soul.
“The truth dazzles gradually, or else the world would be blind.”
— Emily Dickinson
To see a world in a grain of sand, And a heaven in a wild flower, Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, And eternity in an hour.
-- William Blake
I don’t care about stories. I never did. Every story is the same. We have no new stories. We’re just repeating the same ones. I really don’t think, when you do a movie that you have to think about the story. The film isn’t the story. It’s mostly picture, sound, a lot of emotions. The stories are just covering something. With Damnation, for example, if you’re a Hollywood studio professional, you could tell this story in 20 minutes. It’s simple. Why did I take so long? Because I didn’t want to show you the story. I wanted to show this man’s life.
— Béla Tarr
But in the mud and scum of things, / There always, always something sings.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
I don’t like the idea of “understanding” a film. I don’t believe that rational understanding is an essential element in the reception of any work of art. Either a film has something to say to you or it hasn’t. If you are moved by it, you don’t need it explained to you. If not, no explanation can make you moved by it.