Jean Cocteau Quotes

Most popular Jean Cocteau Quotes

Art is science made clear.

art science science & art

Life is a horizontal fall.

life

Poetry is a religion without hope.

poetry

Art is not a pastime but a priesthood.
— Jean Cocteau

art

A film is a petrified fountain of thought.

film

He who is affected by an insult is infected by it.

insults

Tact consists in knowing how far we may go too far.

tact

The true tomb of the dead is the heart of the living.
— Jean Cocteau

death

Art is a marriage of the conscious and the unconscious.

art consciousness

Tact consists in knowing how far to go in going too far.

tact

I know that poetry is indispensable, but to what I couldn't say.
— Jean Cocteau

poetry

Tact in audacity is knowing how far you can go without going too far.
— Jean Cocteau
The worst tragedy for a poet is to be admired through being misunderstood.

poets misunderstanding

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

journalism

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

artists

See your disappointments as good fortune.  One plan's deflation is another's inflation.

disappointment

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

change

A true poet does not bother to be poetical.  Nor does a nursery gardener scent his roses.

poets

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

death

Picasso said that everything is a miracle, that it's a miracle that we don't dissolve in our baths.

miracles

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

death

It seems to me that invisibility is the required provision of elegance.  Elegance ceases to exist when it is noticed.

elegance

My method is simple: not to bother about poetry.  It must come of its own accord.  Merely whispering its name drives it away.

poetry

A car can massage organs which no masseur can reach. It is the one remedy for the disorders of the great sympathetic nervous system.

cars

The cinema, a somewhat dubious Muse . . . incapable of waiting, whilst all the other Muses wait, and should be painted and sculpted in waiting poses.

cinema

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.

poets

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, they finish by loading honors on your head.
— Jean Cocteau

awards

I listen to a jazz band at the Casino de Paris: high in the air, in a kind of cage, the Negroes writhe, dandle, toss lumps of raw meat to the crowd in the form of trumpet screams, rattles, drumbeats.  The dance tune, broken, punched, counterpointed rises now and again to the surface.

jazz