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Jean Cocteau quotes

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.

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

The extreme limit of wisdom, that's what the public calls madness.

An original artist is unable to copy. So he has only to copy in order to be original.

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.

The poet never asks for admiration; he wants to be believed.

All good music resembles something. Good music stirs by its mysterious resemblance to the objects and feelings which motivated it.

I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul.

Since the day of my birth, my death began its walk. It is walking toward me, without hurrying.

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.

An artist cannot speak about his art any more than a plant can discuss horticulture.

Tact in audacity is knowing how far you can go without going too far.

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.

A film is a petrified fountain of thought.

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.

We must believe in luck. For how else can we explain the success of those we don't like?

Film will only became an art when its materials are as inexpensive as pencil and paper.

Here I am trying to live, or rather, I am trying to teach the death within me how to live.

Style is a simple way of saying complicated things.

The poet doesn't invent. He listens.