Intervju za „Parisku reviju“: Žan Kokto

Jean Cocteau, Self-Portrait (from a letter to Paul Valéry), October 1924.

Jean Cocteau, Self-Portrait (from a letter to Paul Valéry), October 1924.

U nastavku sledi odlomak iz intervuja koji je Žan Kokto dao za „Parisku reviju. Intervju može biti dobar početak za upoznavanje ove ličnosti francuske kulture, višestruko talentovanog umetnika koji se, osim pisanja romana, posvećivao i pisanju poezije, slikanju, radom u pozorištu, kao i režiranjem filmova sa snažnim poetskim impulsom.

Artistička strana Koktoove ličnosti podstaknuta je ličnostima kojima je bivao okružen, a koje su pomenute u intervjuu, i koje nam mogu adekvatno predočiti duh vremena i mesta u kojima se on ostvarivao kao umetnik (Pariz ’20 i ’30 godina 20. veka). U nastavku, čitalac može primetiti tri imena koje Kokto najčešće spominje: Stravinskog, Satia, Pikasa.

INTERVIEWER

You wrote something to the effect of: a chameleon has a master who places it on a Scotch plaid. It is first frenzied, and then dies of fatigue.

COCTEAU

C’était malheureusement comme ça! Yes, I thought literature gay and amusing. But the Ballets Russes had come to Paris; had had to leave Russia, I believe. There are these strange conjunctures. I often wonder if much would have eventuated if Diaghilev had not come to Paris. He would say, “I do not like Paris. But if it were not for Paris, I believe I would not be staged.” Everything began, finally, you see, with Stravinsky’s Sacre. The Sacre du Printemps reversed everything. Suddenly, we saw that art was a terrible sacerdoce—the Muses could have frightful aspects, as if they were she-devils. One had to enter into art as one went into monastic orders; little it mattered if one pleased or not, the point wasn’t in that. Ha! Nijinsky. He was a simple, you know; not in the least intelligent, and rather stupid. His body knew; his limbs had the intelligence. He, too, was infected by something happening then—when was it? It must have been in the May or April of 1913. Nijinsky was taller than the ordinary, with a Mongol monkey face, and blunted fingers that looked like they’d been cut off short; it seemed unbelievable he was the idol of the public. When he invented his famous leap—in Le Spectre de la Rose—and sailed off the scene—Dimitri, his valet, would spew water from his lips into his face, and they would engulf him in hot towels. Poor fellow, he could not comprehend when the public hissed the choreography of Sacre du Printempswhen he had himself—poor devil—seen they applauded Le Spectre de la Rose. Yet he was—manikin of a total professional deformation that he was—caught in the strange thing that was happening. Put the foot there; simply because it had always been put somewhere else before. I recall the night after the première of Sacre—Diaghilev, Nijinsky, Stravinsky, and I went for a drive in a fiacre in the Bois de Boulogne, and that was when the first idea of Parade was born.

INTERVIEWER

But it wasn’t presented then?

COCTEAU

A year or two later, listening to music of Satie, it took further form in my mind. Then, in 1917, to Satie’s music, Léonide Massine, who did the choreography, I who wrote it, Diaghilev, and Picasso—in Rome—worked it out.

INTERVIEWER

Picasso?

COCTEAU

I had induced him to try set designs; he did the stage settings: the housefronts of Paris, a Sunday. It was put on by the Ballets Russes in Paris; and we were hissed and hooted. Fortunately, Apollinaire was back from the front and in uniform, and it was 1917, and so he saved Picasso and me from the crowd, or I am afraid we might have been hurt. It was new, you see—not what was expected.

INTERVIEWER

Aren’t you really positing a kind of passion of anti-conformism in the ferment of those days?

COCTEAU

Yes. That’s right. It was Satie who said, later, the great thing is not to refuse the Legion of Honor—the great thing is not to have deserved it. Everything was turning about. All the old traditional order was reversing. Satie said Ravel may have refused the Legion of Honor but that all his work accepted it! If you receive academic honors you must do so with lowered head—as punishment. You have disclosed yourself; you have committed a fault.

INTERVIEWER

Who would you name as fundamental to this conversion?

COCTEAU

Oh—Satie, Stravinsky, Picasso.

INTERVIEWER

If you had to name the chief architect of this revolt?

COCTEAU

Oh—for me—Stravinsky. But you see I met Picasso only in 1916. And of course he had painted the Demoiselles d’Avignon nearly a decade before. And Satie was a great innovator. I can tell you something about him that will perhaps seem only amusing. But it is very significant. He had died, and we all went to his apartment, and under his blotter on his desk we all found our letters to him—unopened.

INTERVIEWER

You were telling some story about the impressionists and a Netherlander who bought them—which I think expressed one of your prime convictions: about the mutability of taste or, really, the nonexistence of bad-good in any real objective sense. And about that time I believe you suggested poetry does not translate. Rilke—

COCTEAU

Yes, Rilke was translating my Orphée when he died. He wrote me that all poets speak a common language, but in different fashion. I am always badly translated.

INTERVIEWER

Do you keep a sort of abstract potential reader or viewer in mind when you work?

COCTEAU

You are always concentrated on the inner thing. The moment one becomes aware of the crowd, performs for the crowd, it is spectacle. It is fichu.

INTERVIEWER

Can you say something about inspiration?

COCTEAU

It is not inspiration; it is expiration.

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One thought on “Intervju za „Parisku reviju“: Žan Kokto

  1. Povratni ping: Dva filma Žana Koktoa | A . A . A

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