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The Ister2004

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  • 4.2
In 1942, at the height of World War II, Martin Heidegger, the most influential philosopher of the twentieth century, delivered a series of lectures on "The Ister," Friedrich Hölderlin's poem about the Danube River (which referred to the waterway by its ancient Greek name). Heidegger had achieved worldwide fame in 1927 for his philosophical magnum opus, "Being and Time." In 1933, Heidegger embraced the National Socialist "revolution," becoming rector of Freiburg University. His inaugural address culminated in "Heil Hitler!" After clashing with the Nazi bureaucracy, however, he resigned the rectorate in 1934. Eight years later, as the tide of the war was turning against Germany, Heidegger spent the summer semester lecturing on the poetry of Friedrich Hölderlin, focusing on his poem "The Ister." Rather than an esoteric retreat into the realm of aesthetics, Heidegger's lectures directly addressed the political, cultural and military chaos facing Germany and the world in 1942. THE ISTER takes up some of the most challenging paths in Heidegger's thought, as we journey from the mouth of the Danube River in Romania to its source in the Black Forest. However controversial Heidegger remains, his thought remains alive in the work of some of the most remarkable thinkers and artists working today, four of whom discuss the contemporary social relevance of Heidegger, including Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe, Jean-Luc Nancy, Bernard Stiegler and filmmaker Hans-Jürgen Syberberg.

Member Reviews (4)

As someone who is also reading the lecture course, this is great. This is also the only film on later-Heidegger as far as I am concern.


I would like to give this film five stars. It presents many of the great ideas of philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and one of the sublime poems of Friedrich Holderlin. The film is wonderfully entertaining at times and the cinematography is excellent. What is most disappointing, irritating, in this context is the subtle but distinct intrusion of neo-bolshevik propaganda and historical bias.

If you're even remotely interested in 20th & 21st Century Culture, you'll love this. Just give it time.