Frank Capra

I didn’t give a film-clip whether critics hailed or hooted Wonderful Life. I thought it was the greatest film I ever made. It wasn’t made for the oh-so-bored critics or the oh-so-jaded literati. It was my kind of film for my kind of people; the motion picture I had wanted to make since I first peered into a movie camera’s eyepiece in that San Francisco Jewish gymnasium.

A film to tell the weary, the disheartened, and the disillusioned, the wino, the junkie, the prostitute; those behind prison walls and those behind Iron Curtains that no man is a failure!

To show those born slow of foot or slow of mind, those oldest sisters condemned to spinsterhood and those oldest sons condemned to unschooled toil that each man’s life touches so many other lives. And that he if isn’t around it would leave an awful hole. A film that said to the downtrodden, the pushed around, the pauper: “Head’s Up, fella. No man is poor who has one friend. Three friends and you’re filthy rich.”

A film that expressed its love for the homeless and the loveless; for her whose cross is heavy and him whose touch is ashes; for the Magdelenes stoned by hypocrites and the afflicted Lazaruses with only dogs to lick their sores.

I wanted to shout to the abandoned grandfathers staring vacantly in nursing homes, to the always-interviewed but seldom-adopted orphans, to the paupers who refuse to die while medical vultures wait to snatch their hearts and livers, and to those who take cobalt treatments and whistle — I wanted to shout, “You are the salt of the earth. And It’s a Wonderful Life is my memorial to you.”

Rene Daumal

Here is how I have summarized for myself what I would like those who work here with me to understand:

I am dead because I have no desire,
I have no desire because I think I possess,
I think I possess because I do not try to give;
Trying to give, we see that we have nothing,
Seeing that we have nothing, we try to give ourselves.
Trying to give ourselves, we see that we are nothing,
Seeing that we are nothing, we desire to become,
Desiring to become, we live.

DH Lawrence

WE like to think of the old-fashioned American classics as children’s books. Just childishness, on our part. The old American art-speech contains an alien quality, which belongs to the American continent and to nowhere else. But, of course, so long as we insist on reading the books as children’s tales, we miss all that.

One wonders what the proper high-brow Romans of the third and fourth or later centuries read into the strange utterances of Lucretius or Apuleius or Tertullian, Augustine or Athanasius. The uncanny voice of Iberian Spain, the weirdness of old Carthage, the passion of Libya and North Africa; you may bet the proper old Romans never heard these at all. They read old Latin inference over the top of it, as we read old European inference over the top of Poe or Hawthorne.

It is hard to hear a new voice, as hard as it is to listen to an unknown language. We just don’t listen. There is a new voice in the old American classics. The world has declined to hear it, and has babbled about children’s stories.

Why ? – Out of fear. The world fears a new experience more than it fears anything. Because a new experience displaces so many old experiences. And it is like trying to use muscles that have perhaps never been used, or that have been going stiff for ages. It hurts horribly.
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Joan of Arc

FIFTH PUBLIC EXAMINATION

Thursday, March 1st, 1432, in the same place, the Bishop and 58 Assessors present.

In their presence, We summoned and required Jeanne simply and absolutely to take her oath to speak the truth on that which should be asked her.

“I am ready,” she replied, “as I have already declared to you, to speak the truth on all I know touching this Case; but I know many things which do not touch on this Case, and of which there is no need to speak to you. I will speak willingly and in all truth on all that touches this Case.”

We again summoned and required her; and she replied:

“What I know in truth touching the Case, I will tell willingly.”

And in this wise did she swear, her hands on the Holy Gospels. Then she said: “On what I know touching this Case, I will speak the truth willingly; I will tell you as much as I would to the Pope of Rome, if I were before him.”

Then she was examined as follows:

“What do you say of our Lord the Pope? and whom do you believe to be the true Pope?”

“Are there two of them?”

Derrick Jensen

A wonderful thing thing happens when you give up on hope, which is that you realize you never needed it in the first place. You realize that giving up on hope didn’t kill you. It didn’t even make you less effective. In fact it made you more effective, because you ceased relying on someone or something else to solve your problems – you ceased hoping your problems would somehow get solved through the magical assistance of God, the Great Mother, the Sierra Club, valiant tree-sitters, brave salmon, or even the Earth itself – and you just began doing whatever it takes to solve those problems yourself.

When you give up on hope, something even better happens than it not killing you, which is that in some sense it does kill you. You die. And there’s a wonderful thing about being dead, which is that they – those in power – cannot really touch you anymore. Not through promises, not through threats, not through violence itself. Once you’re dead in this way, you can still sing, you can still dance, you can still make love, you can still fight like hell – you can still live because you are still alive, more alive in fact than ever before. You come to realize that when hope died, the you who died with the hope was not you, but was the you who depended on those who exploit you, the you who believed that those who exploit you will somehow stop on their own, the you who believed in the mythologies propagated by those who exploit you in order to facilitate that exploitation. The socially constructed you died. The civilized you died. The manufactured, fabricated, stamped, molded you died. The victim died.
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Tom Noonan's The Wife

Your job as an actor is to be present in the moment. If you are able to do that with an open heart that is all you have to do. An actor has no obligation to the script – no obligation to the director – no obligation to the other actors – no obligation to the audience. An actor’s only obligation is to his character – to the truth – and that can only happen through his commitment to himself – his commitment to the moment. And I don’t mean this in the selfish, petty sense. When you are truly present you transcend your ego and become connected to something beyond yourself. This job of being present is a simple task but it is often very difficult.
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