Jeanne Moreau (1928-2017): My favorite quotes

By Jesse Kornbluth
Published: Jul 31, 2017

“Every night I go over what I did in the day, in ethical or moral terms. Have I treated people properly? Did I tell the truth? But I’m not the sort of person who thinks, ‘Oh God, wasn’t it wonderful when I was 25.'”

“The cliche is that life is a mountain. You go up, reach the top and then go down. To me, life is going up until you are burned by flames. Life is an accomplishment, and each moment has a meaning and you must use it. Life is given to you like a flat piece of land and everything has to be done. I hope that when I am finished, my piece of land will be a beautiful garden, so there is a lot of work.”

“No, I don’t fall in love. I love differently. The word ‘fall’ is meaningless. Perhaps a ‘coup,’ to be hit by love, yes. But I’m more generous now. Passion is blind, and being blind you only see your own reflection in the eyes of others. Passion creates obstacles and pain that block what love is about. Love opens you up. It’s more generous, more fun. It’s less dark.”

How have you managed to keep most of your lovers as friends? How do you avoid the poison that can come at the end of a relationship?

Maybe it is because of the quality of the relationship, you know. I couldn’t explain that. There should be respect on both sides. There should be gratefulness. Maybe because the men and myself, we know that things don’t last. Life, you know? It’s marvelous to be able to travel for a while with somebody, when nothing ugly interferes.

To truly love someone, what do you think is required?

Well, just generosity. And gratitude. The worst enemy in love is to be possessive. To think that things ought to last. Usually, to begin with, it’s an attraction, it’s passionate, and it’s violently … there’s a sort of … everything gets all mixed up. Sex, and the heart, and the mind. It’s a painful period. If you resent the fact that it doesn’t last, you think the other one is responsible. That’s where it becomes ugly. But you know, if you have a certain knowledge … people say that one should speak to each other. No! People shouldn’t speak too much. Some people speak too much. Words can destroy things … beyond words, if you know what I mean. As long as you don’t feel that the other one is responsible, as long as you don’t feel guilty, you can keep the relationship. Love is like a flower blooming and then it fades. That doesn’t mean that you can’t keep the same roots.

You’ve said that you’d like to end your days in a big house with all the men you’ve ever loved. Who would be there?

Ah, maybe nowadays I wouldn’t do that. Nowadays I wouldn’t because I love to be alone. I love visitors.