Favorite Quotes



"All art constantly aspires to the condition of music....In its ideal, consummate moments, the end is not distinct from the means, the form from the matter, the subject from the expression; they inhere in and completely saturate each other...."  --Walter Pater, 1877


"...it struck me what quality went to form a Man of Achievement, especially in Literature, and which Shakespeare possessed so enormously--I mean Negative Capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason...."  
--John Keats, 1817

"A film is--or should be--more like music than fiction.  It should be a progression of moods and feelings."

--Stanley Kubrick

"Every session attended by the analyst must have no history and no future.  What is 'known' about the patient is of no further consequence:  it is either false or irrelevant.  If it is 'known' by patient and analyst, it is obsolete....The only point of importance in any session is the unknown. Nothing must be allowed to distract from intuiting that.  In any session, evolution takes place.  Out of the darkness and formlessness something evolves."
--Wilfred Bion, 1967

"The great secret of morals is Love, or a going out of our own nature, and an identification of ourselves with the beautiful which exists in thought, action, or person, not our own."  --Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1821

"Film as dream, film as music.  No form of art goes beyond ordinary consciousness as film does, straight to our emotions, deep into the twilight room of the soul."

--Ingmar Bergman

"Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world."
--Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1821

"If you have a choice between two things and you can't decide, take both."
--Gregory Corso, 1975

"Think I'd be working in a place like this if I could afford a real snake?"
--Miss Salome/Zhora in Blade Runner, 1982

"life is fast, art slow"
--Maureen N. McLane, "Songs of a Season," 2008

"In all things mysterious--never explain."
--Stanley Kubrick (invoking H. P. Lovecraft)

"I hate and I love.
You wonder why?
I can't explain it
But I can feel it happening,
Twisting my bones."
--A lover's translation of Catullus' "Odi et Amo," 50-something B.C.

"The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference." 
--Elie Wiesel, 1986

"I want love to
roll me over slowly
stick a knife inside me,
and twist it all  around....
I want love to
walk right up and bite me
grab a hold of me and fight me
leave me dying on the ground."
--Jack White, "Love Interruption," 2012

"When you make a film it is like asking yourself a question.  When it is finished, you know the answer.  Ultimately with all of cinema, we are just trying to learn about ourselves.  I have always used the opportunity to make a film to learn more about myself, which I am still doing."
--Francis Coppola, in a interview with the L.A. Times, 12/08/12

"There are stories of coincidence and chance and intersections of strange things told, and which is which, who only knows.  And we generally say, Well, if that was in a movie, I wouldn't believe it.  So-and-so met someone else's so-and-so, and so on.  And, it is the humble opinion of this narrator, that strange things happen all the time.  And so it goes,and so it goes, and the Book says, we may be through with the past, but the past ain't through with us."
--from Magnolia, Paul Thomas Anderson (writer-director), 1999

“[Garp] would always say that the art of fiction was the act of imagining truly—was, like any art, a process of selection.  Memories and personal histories—‘all the recollected traumas of our unmemorable lives’—were suspicious models for fiction, Garp would say.  ‘Fiction has to be better than life,’ Garp wrote….He wrote that the worst reason for anything being part of a novel was that it really happened.  ‘Everything has really happened, sometime!’  he fumed. ‘The only reason for something to happen in a novel is that it’s the perfect thing to have happen at that time.

‘Tell me anything that’s ever happened to you,’ Garp told an interviewer once, ‘and I can make the details better than they were….If it’s sad—even if it’s very sad—I can make up a story that’s sadder.’”
--John Irving, The World According to Garp, 1976

"Now die to yourself.  To your idea of yourself.  Everything you are, you're not.  What's left?  Find out.  Stop thinking....You people all wanna help someone.  Help yourself first.  Like the airplane--put on your own mask first...Stop your helping.  Stop your planning.  Give up!  There's no way out.  Not for others.  Not for you."  
--GJ to Robin in "Top of the Lake."

"For in this world of shipwreck, there is hope in uncertainty."
--Lola in Daryl Wein's Lola Versus

"Sometimes it's good to do what you're supposed to do when you're supposed to do it."
--Frances in Noah Baumbach's Frances Ha

"Do what you want to do when you want to do it, Morrie and Betty [age 99 and 97, respectively] told me.  Desire is too precious a thing to put on hold.  And then move on to the next thing."
--Steve Lopez in the Los Angeles Times, 9/22/13

"You be me for a while/and I'll be you."
--"I'll Be You," The Replacements

"So much of the art of film is to do less.  To aspire to do less."
--Francis Coppola, Esquire magazine, 2013

"Kung fu:  two words.  One horizontal, one vertical--if you're wrong, you'll be left lying down.  If you're right, you're left standing--and only the ones who stand have the right to talk."
--Ip Man in Wong Kar Wai's The Grandmaster, 2013

"This is how it always ends.  With death.  But first there was life.  Hidden beneath the blah, blah, blah.  It is all settled beneath the chitter chatter and the noise.  Silence and sentiment.  Emotion and fear.  The haggard, inconstant flashes of beauty.  And the wretched squalor and miserable humanity.  All buried under the cover of the embarrassment of being in the world.  Beyond there is what lies beyond.  I don't deal with what lies beyond. Therefore...let this novel begin.  After all...it's just a trick.  Yes, it's just a trick."
--Jep Gambardella in The Paolo Sorrentino's The Great Beauty

"Who knows why we choose the ones we do?  Some just have your name on them.  Like a bullet.  Or a nail in the road."
--Rustin Cohle, in an early draft of Chapter 2, "Seeing Things," True Detective

"My ultimare goal is, without illusion and without sentimentality, merely by telling the truth as I see it, to break your heart.  If I can break your heart and cause your awareness to expand to include another person's experience, even a fictional person's experience, and to inhabit for a moment their sorrow and suffering, then I think it expands us as people."
--Nic Pizzolatto, Creator/Showrunner, True Detective

"Luck is the residue of design."  
--Branch Rickey

"Because memory is what we are.  Your very soul and your reason to be alive is tied up in memory.  Those moments when the gears of the heart really change."
--Nick Cave, 20,000 Days on Earth

"Things happen."
--Wife in Branded to Kill

"Nelly, I am Heathcliff!  He's always, always in my mind:  not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself, but as my own being."
--Cathy in Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights, 1847

--"The past is what you remember, imagine you remember, convince yourself you remember, or pretend you remember."
--Harold Pinter, on "Old Times"

"Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen."
--Robert Bresson

"So what does it all mean....If a song moves you, that's all that's important.  I don't have to know what a song means.  I've written all kinds of things into my songs, and I'm not going to worry about it--what it all means."
--Bob Dylan, 2016 Nobel Lecture for Literature (recorded June 2017)

"I guess it feels like every record we make, we finish and have a collective thought that we didn't quite mean to do it like that and the next one will be different and we'll get it right.  It's kind of like rewriting the same letter and getting each draft slightly wrong.  So it's a good motivation force--it keeps us gong."  Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead.