Friday, December 8

as if we were completely new to it

I think we try to perfect ourselves, we try to learn, we try to work constantly, we discover things at each stage in a career. But the discoveries and the little we've learned are a bit like a battery, and we are not necessarily conscious of the electricity released from it. So we try to keep all of this inside ourselves, and we use it, hoping that it will come when we need it. It doesn't always come when we need it, however; that's the trauma of creation. Often, all that we've accumulated, all that we've tried to learn, comes too late or too early and not at the moment we need it. On the other hand, if we proceed in too orderly a fashion, that is, with notes, cards, with filed memories, and if we try to apply them mechanically and arbitrarily, I think we become removed from life. One must be very wary of knowledge and theories. One has to have them, but it is best to tackle each subject as if we knew nothing, as if we were completely new to it, and as if the subject were unexplored.

-- Jean Renoir, interview in Cahiers du Cinema 6.34 by Jacques Rivette and Fran├žois Truffaut
Translated by C.-G. Marsac