Derrida

Film

Time Out says

A documentary portrait of possibly the world's most celebrated living philosopher, the 72-year-old father of French 'deconstruction', Jacques Derrida. The film is an object lesson in the difficulties of trying to elucidate the lives of philosophers in general and the life of this preternaturally elusive thinker and personality in particular. (Sick, an earlier film by co-director and editor Kirby Dick, was a remarkable elucidation of the life 'super-masochist' Bob Flanagan.) As biography, Derrida is openly incomplete: we are told of Derrida's Algerian-Jewish parentage, witness his brother's dumbfounded perplexity at the source of Jacques' intellect, and observe Derrida's domestic life with his psychoanalyst wife. We also see him lecture in the US to disturbingly adoring acolytes, visit Nelson Mandela's Robben Island cell, and muse over the setting up of the Derrida Archive. The tantalising nature of these snippets is mirrored by philosophical sound bites offered in an intercut series of semi-formal interviews conducted by co-director Amy Ziering Kofman. As documentary, the film is structurally ramshackle, over-reverential and self-conscious, but it could be as close as we'll ever get. The fine soundtrack is by Ryuichi Sakamoto, the Japanese composer whose credits include The Last Emperor and Gohatto.

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