I don’t like the word success
I don’t like the word ‘success’, and I always fiercely defend myself against it, because I don’t know what the word means at all. For me, success means attaining something I’d really like. That’s success. And what I’d really like is probably unattainable, so I don’t look at things in these terms. Of course, the recognition I have won, to a certain or even large extent, satisfies an ambition which every film-maker has. I’m certainly ambitious and no doubt I behave the way I do through ambition. There’s absolutely no doubt about that. But that’s got nothing to do with success. That’s very far from success.
On the one hand, my ambition’s satisfied. Yet, on the other hand, recognition only helps you to satisfy ambition because it’ll never be completely satisfied. You can’t ever completely satisfy ambition. The more ambitious you are, the more impossible it is to satisfy your ambition. Recognition makes certain things easier which is very good in resolving everyday matters. Obviously it’s better if you can find money easily rather than if you have to fight for it. The same goes for actors or anything else you might think of. But, at the same time, I’m not sure that making things easier is a good thing in itself. I’m not sure whether it isn’t better if things are difficult. I’m not sure if it’s not better to suffer than not to suffer. I think it’s sometimes better to suffer. Everybody ought to go through it. That’s what makes us. That’s what makes human nature. If you’ve got an easy life then there’s no reason for you to care about anybody else. I think that in order really to care about yourself, and particularly somebody else, you’ve got to experience suffering and really understand what it is to suffer, so that you hurt and understand what it is to hurt. Because if you don’t understand what pain is, you won’t understand what it is not to be in pain and you won’t appreciate this lack of pain.
I’ll never tell you about the time I suffered most; nor will I tell anybody. It’s what’s most painful and most hidden. So, first of all, I don’t talk about it and, secondly, I very rarely admit it to myself, although it probably does emerge somewhere. No doubt, it comes out somewhere and you could find it, if you really wanted to.
Kieślowski On Kieślowski