“Sur ce sentiment inconnu dont l’ennui, la douceur m’obsèdent, j’hésite à apposer le nom, le beau nom grave de tristesse. C’est un sentiment si complet, si égoïste que j’en ai presque honte alors que la tristesse m’a toujours paru honorable. Je ne la connaissais pas, elle, mais l’ennui, le regret, plus rarement le remords. Aujourd’hui, quelque chose se replie sur moi comme une soie, énervante et douce, et me sépare des autres.
Cet été-là, j’avais dix-sept ans et j’étais parfaitement heureuse.”
“A Strange melancholy pervades me to which I hesitate to give the grave and beautiful name of sorrow. The idea of sorrow has always appealed to me but now I am almost ashamed of it’s complete egoism. I have known boredom, regret, and occasionally remorse, but never sorrow. Today it envelops me like a silken web, enervating and soft, and sets me apart from everybody else. That summer I was seventeen and I was perfectly happy.”
~ Françoise Sagan, Bonjour Tristesse
Otto Preminger’s 1958 film adaptation of Sagan’s novel, starring Jean Seberg as Cécile, will be showing at Film Forum starting tomorrow, April 27, thru Thursday, May 3.
“For Bonjour tristesse all I started with was the idea of a character, the girl, but nothing really came of it until my pen was in hand. I have to start to write to have ideas. I wrote Bonjour tristesse in two or three months, working two or three hours a day. Un Certain sourire was different. I made a number of little notes and then thought about the book for two years. When I started in writing, again two hours a day, it went very fast. When you make a decision to write according to a set schedule and really stick to it, you find yourself writing very fast. At least I do.”
Francoise Sagan, The Art of Fiction No. 15 (Paris Review)