Ideas are imperishable, such is the premise of this powerful, upbeat allegory from one of Egypt’s most esteemed directors, Youssef Chahine. Ostensibly the true tale of revolutionary Muslim philosopher Averroes who lived in 12th-century Spain when Arabs ruled Anadulsia, it parallels the story of Chahine’s own experiences with Islamic fundamentalists when he released his 1994 film L’Emigre because it dared depict a sacred Muslim prophet. During that time, fundamentalists were not content to merely have the film b
anned, they also threatened Chahine’s life. Despite their destructive efforts, the fundamentalists ultimately failed and L’Emigre became one of Egypt’s most successful films. Averroes was a follower of Aristotelian thought, an innovative lawyer and an important scientist (he discovered the purpose of the retina) who lived during the rule of the great liberal Caliph Al Mansour. At the time, the Caliph’s rivals were part of Magdi Idris, a fundamentalist sect, who sought to destroy his power by cloaking their own political agendas in religious dogma and spreading it liberally amongst the easily influenced peasantry. Continue reading
Two of the most venerable figures on the American Left – Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky – converse with Sasha Lilley about their lives and political philosophies, looking back at eight decades of struggle and theoretical debate.
Howard Zinn, interviewed shortly before his death, reflects on the genesis of his politics, from the Civil Rights and anti-Vietnam war movements to opposing empire today, as well as history, art and activism.
Noam Chomsky discusses the evolution of his libertarian socialist ideals since childhood, his vision for a future post-capitalist society, and his views on the state, science, the Enlightenment, and the future of the planet.
“Save and protect is a philosophical tragedy where the drama of love is just a manifestation of the tragic nature of human life. Man is just a blind stranger, wandering around from his birth to his death. The story of the film is closely connected with the parable of human bondage and laws of fate; it exists beyond historical time and any concrete nationality. The latter is emphasised by a daring artistic device — the heroine’s speech is a mixture of Russian and French words without translation.
Tatiana Smorodinskaya (from the annotation of film editor)
The Tibetan film Milarepa, produced in 2006 is set in the magnificent Spiti Valley high in the Himalayas in the Zanskar region close to the border between India and Tibet. Directed by Neten Choklin, a Lama from Western Bhutan who has previously worked with Khyentse Norbu on the films such as The Cup and Travellers and Magicians, the film is the first part about the adventurous formative years of the legendary buddhist mystic, Milarepa (1052-1135) who is one of the most widely known Tibetan Saints, but whom set out for vengeance and retribution.
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