Quotes by Jean Cocteau

Life is a horizontal fall.
- Jean Cocteau
Art is not a pastime but a priesthood.
- Jean Cocteau
I am a lie who always speaks the truth.
- Jean Cocteau
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The poet doesn't invent. He listens.
- Jean Cocteau
A film is a petrified fountain of thought.
- Jean Cocteau
The poet is a liar who always speaks the truth.
- Jean Cocteau
It is not I who become addicted, it is my body.
- Jean Cocteau
One must be a living man and a posthumous artist.
- Jean Cocteau
Poetry is indispensable - if I only knew what for.
- Jean Cocteau
Style is a simple way of saying complicated things.
- Jean Cocteau
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Silence moves faster when it's going backward.
- Jean Cocteau
Art is a marriage of the conscious and the unconscious.
- Jean Cocteau
What the public criticizes in you, cultivate. It is you.
- Jean Cocteau
The poet never asks for admiration; he wants to be believed.
- Jean Cocteau
I have a piece of great and sad news to tell you: I am dead.
- Jean Cocteau
The Louvre is a morgue; you go there to identify your friends.
- Jean Cocteau
Tact in audacity is knowing how far you can go without going too far.
- Jean Cocteau
The extreme limit of wisdom, that's what the public calls madness.
- Jean Cocteau
The greatest masterpiece in literature is only a dictionary out of order.
- Jean Cocteau
The worst tragedy for a poet is to be admired through being misunderstood.
- Jean Cocteau
I believe in luck: how else can you explain the success of those you dislike?
- Jean Cocteau
In Paris, everybody wants to be an actor; nobody is content to be a spectator.
- Jean Cocteau
There are truths which one can only say after having won the right to say them.
- Jean Cocteau
If it has to choose who is to be crucified, the crowd will always save Barabbas.
- Jean Cocteau
After the writer's death, reading his journal is like receiving a long letter.
- Jean Cocteau
An artist cannot speak about his art any more than a plant can discuss horticulture.
- Jean Cocteau
An original artist is unable to copy. So he has only to copy in order to be original.
- Jean Cocteau
Film will only became an art when its materials are as inexpensive as pencil and paper.
- Jean Cocteau
Asking an artist to talk about his work is like asking a plant to discuss horticulture.
- Jean Cocteau
I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul.
- Jean Cocteau
A true poet does not bother to be poetical. Nor does a nursery gardener scent his roses.
- Jean Cocteau
The day of my birth, my death began its walk. It is walking toward me, without hurrying.
- Jean Cocteau
When a work appears to be ahead of its time, it is only the time that is behind the work.
- Jean Cocteau
Here I am trying to live, or rather, I am trying to teach the death within me how to live.
- Jean Cocteau
We must believe in luck. For how else can we explain the success of those we don't like?
- Jean Cocteau
Since the day of my birth, my death began its walk. It is walking toward me, without hurrying.
- Jean Cocteau
There are too many souls of wood not to love those wooden characters who do indeed have a soul.
- Jean Cocteau
Poets don't draw. They unravel their handwriting and then tie it up again, but differently.
- Jean Cocteau
Children and lunatics cut the Gordian knot which the poet spends his life patiently trying to untie.
- Jean Cocteau
Emotion resulting from a work of art is only of value when it is not obtained by sentimental blackmail.
- Jean Cocteau
True realism consists in revealing the surprising things which habit keeps covered and prevents us from seeing.
- Jean Cocteau
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
If a hermit lives in a state of ecstasy, his lack of comfort becomes the height of comfort. He must relinquish it.
- Jean Cocteau
The reward of art is not fame or success but intoxication: that is why so many bad artists are unable to give it up.
- Jean Cocteau
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.
- Jean Cocteau
All good music resembles something. Good music stirs by its mysterious resemblance to the objects and feelings which motivated it.
- Jean Cocteau
The ear disapproves but tolerates certain musical pieces; transfer them into the domain of our nose, and we will be forced to flee.
- Jean Cocteau
Mystery has its own mysteries, and there are gods above gods. We have ours, they have theirs. That is what's known as infinity.
- Jean Cocteau
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.
- Jean Cocteau
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.
- Jean Cocteau
One of the characteristics of the dream is that nothing surprises us in it. With no regret, we agree to live in it with strangers, completely cut off from our habits and friends.
- Jean Cocteau
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.
- Jean Cocteau
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.
- Jean Cocteau
Everything one does in life, even love, occurs in an express train racing toward death. To smoke opium is to get out of the train while it is still moving. It is to concern oneself with something other than life or death.
- Jean Cocteau
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. The rest is literature.
- Jean Cocteau
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, the finish by loading honors on your head.
- Jean Cocteau
The actual tragedies of life bear no relation to one's preconceived ideas. In the event, one is always bewildered by their simplicity, their grandeur of design, and by that element of the bizarre which seems inherent in them.
- Jean Cocteau

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