Derrida

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.
 
IMDB:
6.5
Metacritic:
73
Rotten Tomatoes:
82%
Year:
2002
84 min
Website
4 Views

[ 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.

Careful.

[ 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.

Watch--

Uh-uh-uh-uh-uh.

[ 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.

Someone...

interested

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.

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