Synopsis: Documentary about French philosopher (and author of deconstructionism) Jacques Derrida, who sparked fierce debate throughout American academia.
Genre: Documentary
Director(s): Kirby Dick, Amy Ziering
Production: Zeitgeist Films
  1 win & 1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
84 min

[ Derrida, In French ]

[ Woman On TV] Good evening.

Later on tonight's late show...

we look at the French

philosopherJacques Derrida...

founder of the post-structuralist

mode of analysis...

known as deconstruction...

and internationally acknowledged by many

as one of the most innovative...

and inspiring

of contemporary philosophers.

[ Siren Wailing ]

[ Chattering ]

My theory is that Americans exist to

the degree that they're being filmed...

or believe themselves

to be filmed.

- Yeah.

- This is their natural condition.

[ Mumbles ] You see

how Americanized I am now.


[ Chuckles ]

She sees everything around me,

but she's totally blind.

That's the image of the philosopher

who falls in the well. You say?

- [ Woman ] Yes.

- While looking at the star.

- [ Car Alarm Blaring ]

- Watch it.



[ Derrida ]

I have these people around

all the time, day and night.

Wherever I am, for two weeks now

they have been constantly...

- Mm.

- tracking me.

[ Woman ]

Are you getting used to it?

- Sometimes I forget. I just forget.

- Yeah?

[ Elevator Bell Dings ]

[ Derrida ] We should not neglect

the fact that some biographies--

written by people who have

authority in the academy--

finally invest

this authority in a book...

which, for centuries sometimes...

after the death of an author,

represent the truth.

Huh? The truth.



in biography writes...

Life and Works of Heidegger.

Well documented...

apparently consistent...

and it's the only one...

published by--

under the authority of a good press.

Okay? And then,

Heidegger's image--

Heidegger's life image--

is fixed and stabilized

for centuries.

That's why I would say

that sometimes...

the one who reads a text

by a philosopher...

for instance,

a tiny paragraph...

- [ Camera Shutter Clicks ]

- and interprets it in a rigorous...

inventive and...

powerfully deciphering fashion...

is more of a real biographer...

than the one who knows

the whole story.

[ Derrida ]

This is the blue jacket I have.

That's nice.

But this doesn't fit with the--

This is black, this is not blue. Okay?

- And I usually can't--

- I know.

Can I-- We won't get your bottom half.

Can I see what it looks like?

Is that okay?

I'm sorry to trouble you.

As you know, the traditional

philosophy excludes biography...

considers biography as

something external to philosophy.

You remember, uh...

Heidegger's statement...

about Aristotle.

Heidegger once was asked,

I think, uh...

''What is-- What was

the life of Aristotle?''

What could we answer to the question:

What was Aristotle's life?

Well, the answer

is very simple.

Aristotle was a philosopher.

The answer holds

in one sentence:

''He was born, he thought

and he died.''

And all the rest

is pure anecdote.

[ Woman ]

His mother's grave is profaned.

His parents never read

any ofhis books.

He cries out,

''Mommy, I'm scared, '"

every night until she lets him

sleep on a sofa near them.

One side ofhis face

is paralyzed for three weeks...

leaving his eye open

continuously, unblinking.

His father composes

his own death notice...

shortly before

he dies of cancer.

He's expelled from school

because he is Jewish.

He learns he was given

a secret name, Eli...

after theJewish prophet Elijah,

that isn't on his birth certificate.

He fails his first

entrance exam to the university.

He writes his first novel

at age 1 5...

about the theft of a diary

and blackmail for its return.

He pretends to learn Hebrew so as

to read it without understanding it.

He is arrested and thrown in prison

for 2 4 hours in Prague...

for transporting drugs,

which the authorities plant on him.

He receives a collect call from

someone who identifies himself as...


He declines an offer

from Marguerite Duras...

to play a part

in one ofher films.

As an adolescent, he dreams of

becoming a professional soccer player.

He doesn't circumcise

his sons...

greatly upsetting

his mother and father.

He suffers from sleeplessness

and nervous collapse...

from the overuse of sleeping tablets

and amphetamines.

His older brother

lives only seven days...

dying just a year

before he is born.

Classical philosophers...

usually avoid


It is because they think

it's indecent.

That is, a philosopher should not speak

of himself as an empirical being.

And this impoliteness,

or this politeness...

is philosophy itself,

in principle.

So, if we want to break...

with this philosophical axiom,

classical philosophical axiom...

according to which a philosopher

should not present himself...


[ Stammers ]

give in to autobiography...

then we have to be indecent

to some extent.

[ Woman ] We no longer consider

the biography of a philosopher...

as a set

of empirical accidents...

that leaves one with a name...

that within itselfbe offered

up to philosophical reading...

the only kind of reading held to be

philosophically legitimate.

Neither readings of

philosophical systems...

nor external

empirical readings...

have ever in themselves

questioned the dynamics...

of that borderline

between the work and the life...

between the system

and the subject of the system.

This borderline is neither

active nor passive.

It's neither outside

nor inside.

It is most especially not

a thin line...

Rate this script:0.0 / 0 votes


The writer of this script is unknown. more…

All Unknown scripts | Unknown Scripts

4 fans

Submitted on August 05, 2018

Discuss this script with the community:



    Translate and read this script in other languages:

    Select another language:

    • - Select -
    • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
    • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
    • Español (Spanish)
    • Esperanto (Esperanto)
    • 日本語 (Japanese)
    • Português (Portuguese)
    • Deutsch (German)
    • العربية (Arabic)
    • Français (French)
    • Русский (Russian)
    • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
    • 한국어 (Korean)
    • עברית (Hebrew)
    • Gaeilge (Irish)
    • Українська (Ukrainian)
    • اردو (Urdu)
    • Magyar (Hungarian)
    • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
    • Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Italiano (Italian)
    • தமிழ் (Tamil)
    • Türkçe (Turkish)
    • తెలుగు (Telugu)
    • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
    • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
    • Čeština (Czech)
    • Polski (Polish)
    • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Românește (Romanian)
    • Nederlands (Dutch)
    • Ελληνικά (Greek)
    • Latinum (Latin)
    • Svenska (Swedish)
    • Dansk (Danish)
    • Suomi (Finnish)
    • فارسی (Persian)
    • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
    • հայերեն (Armenian)
    • Norsk (Norwegian)
    • English (English)


    Use the citation below to add this screenplay to your bibliography:


    "Derrida" STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 23 Jun 2024. <>.

    We need you!

    Help us build the largest writers community and scripts collection on the web!

    Watch the movie trailer



    The Studio:

    ScreenWriting Tool

    Write your screenplay and focus on the story with many helpful features.