Objects and their functions no longer had any significance. All I perceived was perception itself, the hell of forms and figures devoid of human emotion and detached from the reality of my unreal environment. I was an instrument in a virtual world that constantly renewed its own meaningless image in a living world that was itself perceived outside of nature. And since the appearance of things was no longer definitive but limitless, this paradisiacal awareness freed me from the reality external to myself. The fire and the rose, as it were, became one.
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What's important is the way we say it. Art is all about craftsmanship. Others can interpret craftsmanship as style if they wish. Style is what unites memory or recollection, ideology, sentiment, nostalgia, presentiment, to the way we express all that. It's not what we say but how we say it that matters.
I discovered that what's really important for a creator isn't what we vaguely define as inspiration or even what it is we want to say, recall, regret, or rebel against. No, what's important is the way we say it. Art is all about craftsmanship. Others can interpret craftsmanship as style if they wish. Style is what unites memory or recollection, ideology, sentiment, nostalgia, presentiment, to the way we express all that. It's not what we say but how we say it that matters.
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Borges is particularly stimulating to a man who works in the cinema, because the unusual thing about his writing is that it is like a dream, extraordinarily farsighted in calling up from the unconscious complete images in which the thing itself, and its meaning, coexist - exactly as happens in a film. And, just as happens in dreams, in Borges the incongruous, the absurd, the contradictory, the arcane and the repetitive, although as powerfully imaginative as ever, are at the same time illumined like the careful details of something larger, something unknown, and are the faultless elements of a cruelly perfect, indifferent mosaic. Even the fact that Borges's work is strangely fragmentary makes me think of a broken dreamlike flow; and the heterogeneous quality of his work - stories, essays, poems - I prefer to see not as the union of the multiple threads in a greedy, impatient talent, but as a mysterious sign of unending change.
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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.
When I felt I was dying, these past few days, things were no longer anthropomorphic. The telephone, which looks like a sort of upturned black snake, was merely a telephone. Every thing was just a thing. The couch, which looked like a big square face drawn by Rubens, with buttons on the cover like wicked little eyes, was just a couch, rather shabby but nothing more. At such a time things don't matter to you; you don't bathe everything in your presence, like an amoeba. Things become innocent because you draw away from them; experience becomes virginal, as it was for the first man when he saw the valleys and the plains. You feel you are set in a tidy world: that is a door and it behaves like a door, that is white and behaves like white. What heaven: the symbolism of meanings loses all meaning. You see objects which are comforting because they are quite free. But suddenly you are flung into a new form of suffering because, when you come to miss the meaning of, say, a stool, reality suddenly becomes terrifying. Everything becomes monstrous, unattainable.
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I'm just a storyteller, and the cinema happens to be my medium. I like it because it recreates life in movement, enlarges it, enhances it, distills it. For me, it's far closer to the miraculous creation of life than, say, a painting or music or even literature. It's not just an art form; it's actually a new form of life, with its own rhythms, cadences, perspectives and transparencies. It's my way of telling a story.
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The young watch television twenty-four hours a day, they don't read and they rarely listen. This incessant bombardment of images has developed a hypertrophied eye condition that's turning them into a race of mutants. They should pass a law for a total reeducation of the young, making children visit the Galleria Borghese on a daily basis.
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Like many people, I have no religion, and I am just sitting in a small boat drifting with the tide. I live in the doubts of my duty.... I think there is dignity in this, just to go on working.... Today we stand naked, defenseless, and more alone than at any time in history. We are waiting for something, perhaps another miracle, perhaps the Martians. Who knows?
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I don't believe in total freedom for the artist. Left on his own, free to do anything he likes, the artist ends up doing nothing at all. If there's one thing that's dangerous for an artist, it's precisely this question of total freedom, waiting for inspiration and all the rest of it.
One of the greatest handicaps is to fear a mistake. You have stopped yourself. You have to move freely into the arena, not just to wait for the perfect situation, the perfect moment... If you have to make a mistake, it's better to make a mistake of action than one of inaction. If I had the opportunity again, I would take chances.
In 'Roma,' I wanted to get across the idea that underneath Rome today is ancient Rome. So close. I am always conscious of that, and it thrills me. Imagine being in a traffic jam at the Coliseum! Rome is the most wonderful movie set in the world... As was the case with many of my film ideas, it was inspired by a dream.
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