PR: What is so characteristic of your prose is the constant confrontation of the private and the public. But not in the sense that private stories take place against a political backdrop, nor that political events encroach on private lives. Rather, you continually show that political events are governed by the same laws as private happenings, so that your prose is a kind of psychoanalysis of politics.
MK: The metaphysics of man is the same in the private sphere as in the public one. Take the other theme of the book, forgetting. This is the great private problem of man: death as the loss of the self. But what is this self? It is the sum of everything we remember. Thus what terrifies us about death is not the loss of the past. Forgetting is a form of death ever present within life. This is the problem of my heroine, in desperately trying to preserve the vanishing memories of her beloved dead husband. But forgetting is also the great problem of politics. When a big power wants to deprive a small country of its national consciousness it uses the method of organized forgetting . This is what is currently happening in Bohemia. Contemporary Czech literature, insofar as it has any value at all, has not been printed for 12 years; 200 Czech writers have been proscribed, including the dead Franz Kafka; 145 Czech historians have been dismissed from their posts, history has been rewritten, monuments demolished. A nation which loses awareness of its past gradually loses its self. And so the political situation has brutally illuminated the ordinary metaphysical problem of forgetting that we face all the time, every day, without paying any attention. Politics unmasks the metaphysics of private life, private life unmasks the metaphysics of politics.
Source : http://www.kundera.de/english/Info-Point/Interview_Roth/interview_roth.html
What do you think about the Salman Rushdie case? Do you think a writer should have absolute freedom?
image source : internet
I’ll tell you exactly what I think: Every society has its traditions, laws and religious beliefs, which it tries to preserve. From time to time individuals appear who demand changes. I believe that society has the right to defend itself, just as the individual has the right to attack that with which he disagrees. If a writer comes to the conclusion that his society’s laws or beliefs are no longer valid or even harmful, it is his duty to speak up. But he must be ready to pay the price for his outspokenness. If he is not ready to pay that price, he can choose to remain silent. History is full of people who went to prison or were burned at the stake for proclaiming their ideas. Society has always defended itself. Nowadays it does so with its police and its courts. I defend both the freedom of expression and society’s right to counter it. I must pay the price for differing. It is the natural way of things.
Source : https://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/2062/naguib-mahfouz-the-art-of-fiction-no-129-naguib-mahfouz
Q : Someone told me that you would like to completely change your way of making cinema. Is this true?
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Tarkovsky : Yes, only that I still don’t know how. It would be nice, let us say, to shoot a film in complete freedom, like amateurs make their films. Reject large financing. Have the possibility to observe nature and people, and film them, without haste. The story would be born autonomously: as the result of these observations, not from oblidged shots, planned in the tiniest detail. Such a film would be difficult to realize in the manner that commercial films are realized. It would have to be shot in absolute freedom, independent from lighting, from actors, from the time employed in filming, etc., etc. And with a reduced gauge camera. I believe that such a method of filming could push me to move much further forward
Source : http://people.ucalgary.ca/~tstronds/nostalghia.com/TheTopics/Tarkovsky_Guerra-1979.html
So for you freedom of speech is more than the right to speak your mind?
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Absolutely. Ever since I was an adolescent I’ve been intrigued by the mystery of freedom. Because it is a mystery. Freedom depends on the very thing that limits or denies it, fate, God, biological, or social determinism, whatever. To carry out its mission, fate counts on the complicity of our freedom, and to be free, we must overcome fate. The dialectics of freedom and fate is the theme of Greek tragedy and Shakespeare, although in Shakespeare fate appears as passion (love, jealousy, ambition, envy) and as chance. In Spanish theater—especially in Calderón and Tirso de Molina—the mystery of freedom expresses itself in the language of Christian theology: divine providence and free will. The idea of conditional freedom implies the notion of personal responsibility. Each of us, literally, either creates or destroys his own freedom. A freedom that is always precarious. And that brings up the title’s poetic or aesthetic meaning: the poem, freedom, stands above an order, language.