There are some arresting voices in this pleasant but unfocused American documentary which aims to take philosophy off the page and bring it to the screen. But you can’t help but feel that director Astra Taylor fails at her own challenge of making an academic subject come truly alive as cinema. Pleasingly, Taylor films her subjects, each of whom delivers a mini essay, outside their homes and offices. So Peter Singer discusses the ethics of buying luxury goods as he ambles down New York’s Fifth Avenue, while Judith Butler muses on what it means to walk with her wheelchair-bound friend Sunaura Taylor as they pound the streets of San Francisco together. Slovenian philosopher/personality Slavoj Zizek provides the film’s highlight by explaining why he thinks the green movement is a load of tosh. ‘We may be turning ecology into the new opium of the masses,’ he says, before imploring us to love the whopping great pile of trash sitting behind him.
Friday November 20 2009
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