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A house with a history


'Readiness is all'
Jean-Claude Carrière Film-maker
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'Readiness is all' is a well known sentence, said by Hamlet, which is extremely difficult to translate into any other language because... in French, for instance, the word 'readiness' does not exist, the fact to be ready... so I don't know how we could say it. We will simply say 'to be ready'. The implied behaviour is to lead a life where at the same time we are ready, as in being prepared, being trained, having worked on all the exercises, having done everything required to be ready to defend yourself if you are in the army, or get an idea if you are a writer, or anything in life, such as being struck by love... anything can happen. You need to be ready. But at the same time it means being prepared, being wide-awake, being on the lookout, you should not, as in my case for instance, you should not let an idea lie around carelessly, uncared for. An idea which may appear on a station platform, in the street... maybe it is in myself, maybe in the book I read, in a dream I had. That is what 'readiness is all' means. You need to be ready at any given moment, even in your dreams.

«Readiness is all» est une phrase bien connue que prononce Hamlet, qui est d’ailleurs très difficile de traduire dans une autre langue parce que en français par exemple le mot «readiness» n’existe pas, le fait d’être prêt… alors la «prêtitude» je ne sais pas comment on peut dire. On traduira simplement «être prêt», c’est tout. L’attitude que cela suppose c’est de mener une vie où, à la fois, on est préparé - être prêt c’est être préparé, c’est être entrainé, c’est d’avoir fait les exercices nécessaires, c’est d’avoir fait tout ce qu’il faut pour être prêt recevoir ou une attaque si on est un militaire, ou une idée si on est un écrivain, ou quoi que ce soit dans la vie, un coup de foudre enfin tout ce qui peut arriver. Il faut être prêt. Mais en même temps, ça veut dire qu’il faut être préparé et éveillé, il faut être aux aguets, c’est à dire il ne faut pas, c’est mon cas par exemple, il ne faut pas laisser passer la possibilité d’une idée qui traine par là. Une idée qui peut être sur un quai de métro, qui peut être dans la rue, qui peut être en moi même, qui peut être dans le livre que je lis, dans un rêve que j’ai fait. Donc c’est ça «readiness is all». Il faut être à chaque instant prêt, je dirais même jusque dans le rêve.

French screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière (1931-2021) began his association with films aged 24 when he was selected by Jacques Tati to write for him. This early experience led to further contact with other film-makers, including Luis Buñuel with whom Carrière collaborated for many years. He wrote screenplays for films including Belle de Jour, The Discreet Charms of the Bourgeoisie, Tin Drum and Danton.

Listeners: Andrzej Wolski

Film director and documentary maker, Andrzej Wolski has made around 40 films since 1982 for French television, the BBC, TVP and other TV networks. He specializes in portraits and in historical films. Films that he has directed or written the screenplay for include Kultura, which he co-directed with Agnieszka Holland, and KOR which presents the history of the Worker’s Defence Committee as told by its members. Andrzej Wolski has received many awards for his work, including the UNESCO Grand Prix at the Festival du Film d’Art.

Tags: Hamlet

Duration: 1 minute, 24 seconds

Date story recorded: January 2010

Date story went live: 10 May 2011