I know that I shall have lost to the jungle if I take a weak moral standpoint or relax my mental punctiliousness. I have therefore come to a certain belief which is based on three powerful effective commandments: THOU SHALT BE ENTERTAINING AT ALL TIMES. THOU SHALT OBEY THY ARTISTIC CONSCIENCE AT ALL TIMES. THOU SHALT MAKE EACH FILM AS IF IT WERE THY LAST.
Film as dream, film as music. No form of art goes beyond ordinary consciousness as film does, straight to our emotions, deep into the twilight room of the soul. A little twitch in our optic nerve, a shock effect: twenty-four illuminated frames a second, darkness in between, the optic nerve incapable of registering darkness.
For me, in those days, the great question was: Does God exist? Or doesn't God exist? Can we, by an attitude of faith, attain to a sense of community and a better world? Or, if God doesn't exist, what do we do then? What does our world look like then? In none of this was there the least political colour.
I supply my own angels and demons. I exist on a stony beach, which lowers itself in waves toward a protective ocean. A dog barks; a child cries; the day sinks and becomes night. You can never scare me. No human being will be able to scare me ever again. I have a prayer that I repeat to myself in absolute stillness: May a wind come to stir up the ocean and the stifling twilight. May a bird come from water out there and explode the silence with its call.
I want to stop. I want to stay on Fårö, and read the books I haven’t read, find out things I haven’t yet found out. I want to write things I haven’t written. To listen to music, and talk to my neighbors. To live together with my wife a very calm, very secure, very lazy existence, for the rest of my life.
The world is a den of thieves, and night is falling. Evil breaks its chains and runs through the world like a mad dog. The poison affects us all. No one escapes. Therefore let us be happy while we are happy. Let us be kind, generous, affectionate and good. It is necessary and not at all shameful to take pleasure in the little world.
When you feel perpetually unmotivated, you start questioning your existence in an unhealthy way; everything becomes a pseudo intellectual question you have no interest in responding whatsoever. This whole process becomes your very skin and it does not merely affect you; it actually defines you. So, you see yourself as a shadowy figure unworthy of developing interest, unworthy of wondering about the world - profoundly unworthy in every sense and deeply absent in your very presence.
Perhaps we are the same person. Perhaps we have no limits; perhaps we flow into each other, stream through each other, boundlessly and magnificently. You bear terrible thoughts; it is almost painful to be near you. At the same time it is enticing. Do you know why?
No other art-medium–neither painting nor poetry–can communicate the specific quality of the dream as well as the film can. When the lights go down in the cinema and this white shining point opens up for us, our gaze stops flitting hither and thither, settles and becomes quite steady. We just sit there, letting the images flow out over us. Our will ceases to function. We lose our ability to sort things out and fix them in their proper places. We're drawn into a course of events–we're participants in a dream. And manufacturing dreams, that's a juicy business.
The demons are innumerable, arrive at the most inappropriate times and create panic and terror... but I have learned that if I can master the negative forces and harness them to my chariot, then they can work to my advantage.... Lilies often grow out of carcasses' arseholes.
Sometimes I go for days without speaking to a soul. I think, “I should make that call", but I put it off. Because there’s something pleasurable about not talking. But then I love talking, so it’s not that. But sometimes it can be nice. It’s not like I sit here philosophizing, because I’ve no talent for that. It’s just this thing about silence that’s so wonderful.
Then I felt that every inflection of my voice, every word in my mouth, was a lie, a play whose sole purpose was to cover emptiness and boredom. There was only one way I could avoid a state of despair and a breakdown. To be silent. And to reach behind the silence for clarity or at least try to collect the resources that might still be available to me.
The film medium is some sort of magic. I think also it's a magic that every frame comes and stands still for a fraction of a second and then it darkens. A half part of the time when you see a picture you sit in complete darkness. Isn't that fascinating? That is magic.
There are moments when I can wander through my childhood's landscape, through rooms long ago, remember how they were furnished, where the pictures hung on the walls, the way the light fell. It's like a film - little scraps of a film, which I set running and which I can reconstruct to the last detail - except their smell.
I usually take a walk after breakfast, write for three hours, have lunch and read in the afternoon. Demons don’t like fresh air - they prefer it if you stay in bed with cold feet; for a person who is as chaotic as me, who struggles to be in control, it is an absolute necessity to follow these rules and routines. If I let myself go, nothing will get done.