D.W. Griffith told a little story not so very long ago. It was about himself, and it possessed the qualities his pictures possess … whimsy and pain and laughter, intertwined … but home. “A castle of freedom, it was,” he said … He told how, among his many duties, he had to go at night and bring in the cows, and he told what peculiarly fearsome cows they were, and what a long distance it seemed to him he had to go for them … across a meadow … across a creek, thru a grove of ghostly sycamore trees … “Sometimes,” said Mr. Griffith, “I would call my older brother and sometimes, only sometimes, he would go with me, and I cannot tell you what a relief it was to me to have him go along. It did not seem so dim and dreadful a way; the creek was not so remote and the sycamores did not seem to cast such shuddering shadows. Ah, I cannot tell you what a blessed thing it was to have a brother to whom I could call, knowing that he would respond. And so, someday, perhaps two thousand years from now, I hope to make a picture which will show a world where every man, adventuring thru the ghostly sycamores and distant creeks and many pitfalls which we call 'life,' will be able to raise his voice and call ‘Brother!’ –knowing an answer will come.”
The Universal Brotherhood of Man … beautiful, beatic, tender, tremendous theme. The Photoplay of the Future … what more profound hope can it have than this … that it will bring the clasping of men’s hands to pass.
“The Genius of a Masterpiece”
from the publication Shadowland,1922.
I speak of what helps me to live, of what is good. I am not one of those that seek to wander off, to find forgetfulness, by loving nothing, by diminishing their needs, their tastes, their desires, by leading their lives -- that is, life -- to the hateful end of their death. I do not insist upon subjecting the world solely by the potential force of the intellect. I want everything to be sensible, real, useful, to me; for it's at this point I conceive my existence starts. Man cannot exist save in his own reality. He must be aware of it. If not, he exists for others but as a corpse, as a stone, or as manure.
P. Eluard, introduction to Picasso. 1947.