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Derrida2002

  • 3.6
One of the most influential and iconoclastic figures of the 20th century, French philosopher and father of "deconstruction" Jacques Derrida has single-handedly altered the way we look at history, language, art and film. In the spirit of Derrida's work, acclaimed filmmakers Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering Kofman have created an innovative and entertaining portrait by questioning the very concept of biography itself. Featuring a mesmerizing score by Academy Award® -winning composer Ryuichi Sakamoto, DERRIDA is a playful and provocative glimpse at a visionary thinker as he ruminates on everything from Seinfeld to the sex lives of ancient philosophers.

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1 member likes this review

A lovingly crafted document which offers, rather than a simple highlight reel from the man's lectures (as I was expecting), a heavily aestheticized vignette of his personality, with a tasteful helping of philosophy on the side. When it comes to the latter, Ziering Kofman is interested in the high-level implications of his thought rather than the atomic ideas. She experiments with context and juxtaposition to interpret and even demonstrate Derrida's thoughts put into practice. Filmmaker and subject alike spend much of the runtime examining the nature of the film they are creating through the deconstructionist lens, touching on subjects like love, narcissism, improvisation, and archiving - all arranged carefully so that one idea leads into the next. Ziering Kofman elegantly synthesizes Derrida's life and his work in accordance with one of his claims - that no philosopher's thought should be assumed independent of their biography - revealing herself as one of his most ardent, and accomplished, disciples.

Member Reviews (3)

A lovingly crafted document which offers, rather than a simple highlight reel from the man's lectures (as I was expecting), a heavily aestheticized vignette of his personality, with a tasteful helping of philosophy on the side. When it comes to the latter, Ziering Kofman is interested in the high-level implications of his thought rather than the atomic ideas. She experiments with context and juxtaposition to interpret and even demonstrate Derrida's thoughts put into practice. Filmmaker and subject alike spend much of the runtime examining the nature of the film they are creating through the deconstructionist lens, touching on subjects like love, narcissism, improvisation, and archiving - all arranged carefully so that one idea leads into the next. Ziering Kofman elegantly synthesizes Derrida's life and his work in accordance with one of his claims - that no philosopher's thought should be assumed independent of their biography - revealing herself as one of his most ardent, and accomplished, disciples.

1 member likes this review

Good, accessible doc about the great French philosopher. We follow him around NYC, sit with him at home in Paris, listen to him at symposia and lectures, as excerpts from his voluminous output are occasionally read by one of the film's directors. Derrida himself comes off as friendly, engaging, reasonable, and very private. He speaks about his childhood in Algeria and the anti-Semitism that he faced. There is a funny sequence in which he and his wife give what must be one of the least personal accounts of how they met. I don't think that this doc will clear up misconceptions about his work -- though, to be honest, so many of those misconceptions strike me as willful, even smugly so, as in the case of the NY Times obit when Derrida died (but the Times was drumming up the stories of WMDs in Iraq that year, too: bad faith and worse reporting was the order of the day). I could see screening this for a class after assigning and talking about some of his essays, as well as viewing it as a kind of fan letter to the great man.

1 member likes this review

A very likable movie, neither densely packed with philosophy nor a vapid "humanisation" of the intellectual giant. All the same, it is not a film intended for the uninitiated, but for those who are already on the road to understanding his work.