Tim Robbins: To exist as an artist in danger of expression is true art.

Today was really a special day. Apart from the fact that it started from 9 in the morning and did not end so far, I got the lovely chance to listen to the wonderful actor, director, writer and musician, Mr. Tim Robbins, one more time, due to the FITS’ conference, that took place in a much larger and elegant room – The Thalia Hall. Mr Robbins was very pleased and enthusiastic about the venue because he knew that it was the first theater hall built in Romania, which means that he is really interested and cares about the places he is invited both as a speaker and as an artist. Here are some quick brief quotes I extracted from his words of wisdom:

Learning through work: What are the great things about film is that you don’t know were you are going to be in three months. All of a sudden, you are now in South Africa and now you have to study what South Africa is, you start to learn what it is and you’d never do that if you were just at home. So, in a way, films have become like a school for me. We’ve learnt about humanity from the military to ANC party that followed Mandela and the police from South Africa. I’ve learnt humanity from tortured people. How do you give humanity to people that tortured people? How do you find humanity? They can’t just be evil. They were doing it because they were trying to protect something. They may be wrong in our perspective, but they’re not evil. So, how do you find humanity in people that you disagree with?
Satire or parody? There’s a difference between satire and parody. A lot of what we see on television is parody, not real satire. The satirist, the person that does satire, I think, should not be invited to a party, should not be welcomed into the walls of power. If he’s welcomed into the walls of power he’s doing something wrong. A satire should make you nervous if you have power. A satire should have no gloves, it should be tough and dangerously funny. You know, in the animal kingdom the closest thing to a smile is bearing your fangs. It’s a response in an anger or fear and a laughter often comes from that, like holy shit someone just said something that scares you or makes me angry. A satire is an illumination of truth that is uncomfortable.
Truth more than anything else: How do you tell the truth in a society where truth would get you killed? You use metaphors, then you use imagery, you use fairytales, but everyone knows what you are talking about. So, to exist as an artist in the danger of expression, is, I believe, the true art. We sometimes fool ourselves into thinking Wow, we’re doing art, because we are doing movies, but often that movie has been done before and it is not really daring anything, it is not entirely risking anything. So, I have great admiration for people that create art in the midst of opression, because that is the real art. There was a great exhibit in Berlin with beautiful paintings, drawings and etchings, stuff on paper bags by people that were going to be killed. And the coldrum of that creativity was so intense and so full of hope in a weird way, eventhough they were surrounded by something that wanted to kill them.

(Tim Robbins)

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