Intervju za „Parisku reviju“: Žan Kokto

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

Jean Cocteau, Self-Portrait (Letter to Paul Valéry), 1924.

U nastavku sledi odlomak iz intervuja koji je Žan Kokto dao za časopis Pariska revija (The Paris Review). Intervju može biti dobar početak za upoznavanje ove ličnosti francuske kulture, višestruko talentovanog umetnika koji se, osim pisanja romana, posvećivao i pisanju poezije, slikanju, radu u pozorištu, režiranju filmova poetskog sadržaja.

Artistička strana Koktoove ličnosti naišla je na odgovarajući odaziv i podršku među njegovim savremenicima koji su pomenuti u intervjuu, i koji nam mogu adekvatno predočiti duh vremena i mesta u kojima se on ostvario kao umetnik (Pariz dvadesetih i tridesetih). Čitalac će primetiti imena koje Kokto pominje: Igor Stravinski, Erik Sati, Pablo Pikaso, Gijom Apoliner.

COCTEAU

Everything began 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;

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

Can you say something about inspiration?

COCTEAU

It is not inspiration; it is expiration.

Full Interview