He was modernity’s kabbalist.

Leon Wieseltier on Walter Benjamin in his preface to Illuminations by Walter Benjamin. Translated by Harry Zohn.

It is necessary to have spent a certain amount of time within the tempest, surrounded by mountains seething in the rains, to have been taken up like a helpless plaything into the frenzied dance of the elements. It is necessary to have known, at night, that gradual cold carried by a horizontal wind when the earth seems frozen for eternity, when life is crystallised, dead …

Pierre Mabille as quoted in Michael Richardson’s Surrealism and Cinema (2006)

Fear, you allow us to marvel at the fragile smile appearing on a woman’s face, you evoke the intense feelings that come over us when we meet another being who, in the next instant, will be swallowed up into the night … Constant presence of the night, filled with night-black mares, without which there would be no light. Intoxicating dialectic of being and nonbeing which reopens the entire question, which creates anxiety, without which life would cost nothing.

Pierre Mabille as quoted in Michael Richardson’s Surrealism and Cinema (2006) in relation to horror films.

We hold the theory that we shouldn’t be repressed. When we see a pompous fellow in a high silk hat swelled up with his own importance and sniffing and sneering at folks as they pass, we do exactly what the rest of the world would like to do. We heave a ripe tomato at the hat. If we suppressed that desire, we would not be normal.

Groucho Marx as quoted in Michael Richardson’s Surrealism and Cinema (2006)

Prévert’s world is founded in marvellous encounters, unobtrusive looks which overturn the face of the world, liberating rage, avenging humour, cries of defiance, finding love, love without restriction, in the streets, in parks, greenhouses and hovels.

Adonis Kyrou as quoted in Michael Richardson’s Surrealism and Cinema (2006).