Speechless the Magazine

 To render. Be rendered. Awestruck. Awesome.
A magazine of poetry and related arts straight from L.A.


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Richard Modiano

Richard Modiano holds his MFA in Film from NYU (specializing in Japanese and French cinema). He appeared as an extra in such films as Star! and Change of Habit.

Richard contributes Allen Ginsberg's Top Ten Movies list, below, plus translations of writings by directors Luis Buñuel and Mizoguchi Kenji, and by poet/screenwriter Yoda Yoshikata.

Allen Ginsberg's Top Ten Movies

Allen Ginsberg's neighborhood video shop, Kim's Video, asked him for his top 10 list of movies, and this is the list he gave them:

Orpheus (Orphée), Jean Cocteau, 1950
Blood of a Poet (Le Sang d’un poet), Jean Cocteau, 1930
Children of Paradise (Les Enfants du paradis), Marcel Carné,1945
The Flower Thief, Ron Rice, 1960
Pepe Le Moko, Julien Duvivier, 1930
The Battleship Potempkin (Bronenosets Potyomkin), Sergei Eisenstein, 1925
Pull My Daisy, Robert Frank & Alfred Leslie, 1968
Heaven and Earth Magic, Harry Smith, 1962
Port of Shadows, Marcel Carné, 1938
The Grand Illusion (La Grande illusion), Jean Renoir, 1937

More Poets' Favorite Movies Lists


Luis Buñuel

Epigrams and Thoughts

Reality without imagination is only half of reality.

Give me two hours a day of activity, and I'll take the other twenty-two in dreams.

Dreams are uncontrollable. Their secret has not yet been discovered. I wish I could direct my dreams according to my desires. Then...I would never wake up.

I'm passionate about insects. You can find all of Shakespeare and de Sade in the lives of insects.

It's very attractive to me to see thighs with something viscous running down them because the skin is brought closer; it's as if we were not only seeing them but touching them.

If we could only find the courage to leave our destiny to chance, to accept the fundamental mystery of our lives, then we might be closer to the sort of happiness that comes with innocence.

The best actors I've worked with have been children and dwarves.

Thank God I'm an atheist.

God and Country are an unbeatable team: they break all records for oppression and bloodshed.

For me Surrealism was not an aesthetic, just another avant-garde movement; it was something to which I committed myself in a moral and spiritual way. You can't imagine the loyalty Surrealism demanded in all aspects of life.

From Luis Buñuel: The Complete Films by Bill Krohn (Courtesy of Bill Krohn)

About Luis Buñuel: The founder of surrealist cinema, Luis Buñuel enjoyed a career as diverse and contradictory as his films: he was a master of both silent and sound cinema, of documentaries as well as features. Anarchist, communist and pious anti-Catholic he was condemned by the Church and exiled by Franco from his native Spain.  In his 70s he attained international fame for his scathing satires of the bourgeoisie and won an Academy Award near the end of his life. He once commented, "Religious education and surrealism have marked me for life."

Mizoguchi Kenji

Jisei (death poem)

Already autumn chill is here—
Quickly with my studio comrades
Joyously I long to work



About Mizoguchi Kenji (1898-1956): 2006 marked the 50th anniversary of the death of Mizoguchi Kenji.  His death poem (jisei,) written two days before his passing, is here translated into English for the first time.

"On 24 August, 1956 the greatest of Japanese film-makers died in Kyoto.  Or, quite simply, one of the greatest of film-makers…If poetry is manifest in each second, each shot filmed by Mizoguchi, it is because, as with Murnau, it is the instinctive reflection of the film-maker’s nobility.  Like the director of Sunrise, the director of Ugetsu Monogatari can describe an adventure which is at the same time a cosmogony…The art of Kenji Mizoguchi is to prove that real life is at one and the same time elsewhere and yet here, in it’s strange and radiant beauty.”—Jean-Luc Godard



Yoda Yoshikata

Untitled Tanka

Sensei all alone
taking a nap at midday—
beyond the eaves
of the soundstage
the deep blueness of the sky

About Yoda Yoshikata: The screenwriter and poet Yoda Yoshikata (whose family name is given as homage to a sage-like character appearing in The Empire Strikes Back and other films in the Star Wars series) is noted for his screenplays for several masterpieces by his friend and mentor Mizoguchi Kenji.  Among them are Naniwa Hika (Osaka Elegy,) Gion no Shimai (Sisters of Gion), Ugetsu Monogatari, Saikaku Ichidai Onna (The Life of O-Haru) and Yokihi (Princess Yang Kwai Fei.) Mr. Yoda’s book of poetry Roma was nominated for the Akutagawa Prize.


Speechless Spring 2007
Copyright © 2007 Published by
Tebot Bach