Noted modernist German filmmakers Daniele Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub are behind this evocative minimalist retelling of the tragic story of Empedocles, a Greek philosopher and statesman who lived in the fourth century BC. To prove himself a god and therefore, immortal, Empedocles hurled himself into the burning caldera of Mount Etna and survived. There are four slightly different versions of the film available.
International Philosophers’ Project 1971
Interviewer: Fons Elders
Aired on Dutch television, hence the additional subs. Debate took place in the US according to this.
In 1971, American linguist/social activist Noam Chomsky squared off against French philosopher Michel Foucault on Dutch television … the program was entitled ‘Human Nature: Justice Vs. Power’ and offered sharp contrasts between the more traditional view of ‘human nature’ and what would become a postmodernist perspective … Chomsky, following a rationalist lineage going back to at least Plato, believes that there is a foundational ‘nature’ and that its positive aspects (love, creativity, recognizing and embracing justice) must be realized, while Foucault remains skeptical of any such notion… for him, the issue is not so much whether ‘justice’ or ‘human nature’ ‘exists,’ but how they have historically (and currently) function in society … in regard to justice, he says (this is not included in the clips): “… the idea of justice in itself is an idea which in effect has been invented and put to work in different types of societies as an instrument of a certain political and economic power or as a weapon against that power…” The point of any political struggle, for Foucault, is to alter the ‘power relations’ in which we all find ourselves (youtube user hiperf289) Continue reading
A movie like this can be viewed in two main ways: a human example of a scientific study (with on screen replications of the study, and a moral conclusion); or a lesson in learning for the participants (the wild child will learn how to spell his adopted name; his teacher — and we the audience — will learn how to feel!). Truffaut kind of merges both into something of unique value. It feels a little removed, and it becomes clear that that’s to prevent sentimentality. It’s unsentimental, but Truffaut is a quiet master; as is the case with David Lynch’s “The Elephant Man,” his auteur sensibilities shine through the story so that it fits in neatly with his catalogue — here we have another film with a naked boy’s bum, and young children being goofy and walking in packs. What the film is is an intense magnification of the troubles of child-rearing, emphasized twofold by Truffaut’s role in the film: he is the “mother” giving birth to the film; and he is the father raising this “wild child” within the film; good-natured, but without the inherent understanding of the boy that his housekeeper has (and without the inherent understanding Truffaut the director has of cinema). Continue reading
A very strange dream about a wealthy man preparing for death inspired director Daryush Shokof to make this off-beat and highly esoteric art film. Archie (Anthony Quinn) receives inner peace by being touched by people of four different racial groups. The film shows the five of them conducting daily activities as Quinn endures having their fingers in his nose and ears constantly for 10 days. Archie invites two old friends of his to be present at his death and reveals his secret for inner peace to them. The man goes off in a huff, but the woman stays around and finds her own enjoyment in the situation. Continue reading
Plot Synopsis: In the bourgeois circles of Europe after the Great War, can anything save the modern man? Harry Haller, a solitary intellectual, has all his life feared his dual nature of being human and being a beast. He’s decided to die on his 50th birthday, which is soon. He’s rescued from his solipsism by the mysterious Hermine, who takes him dancing, introduces him to jazz and to the beautiful and whimsical Maria, and guides him into the hallucinations of the Magic Theater, which seem to take him into Hell. Can humor, sin, and derision lead to salvation? Continue reading
The three Villasbôas brothers start their quest as young, urban men who are looking for an adventure in the Brazilian hinterland. Adding to the discovery of natural wonders, they end up finding a cause worth defending. But the challenges are vastly overwhelming. Continue reading
Photographer Frantisek Drtikol
The documentary film “The Photographer Frantisek Drtikol” by the director Jiri Holna (28 min, 2002) drawn from Drktikol’s diaries and private correspondence, includes the recollections of Drtikol’s daughter Ervina Bokova, as well as part of a short film by Drtikol from 1920.
“Man can never be lazy and indifferent to flashes of beauty:
he must collect them, keep them and treat them well,
because in a while they disappear as footprints in sand.”
This documentary is about world-famous Czech photographer, painter and philosopher Frantisek Drtikol (1883-1961). Continue reading