my kind of movie stars

I don’t do a great job of keeping up with film releases, but here’s a 2008 oversight that I’d like to track down: The Examined Life, which takes philosophers out of the academy and into the streets to talk theory. Apparently this is by the same filmmaker who did the Zizek! film, which I did not see since I don’t have much interest in his thought.  Zizek does appear in this documentary too, but the cast includes some genuinely significant philosophers as well. One of the subjects is Kwame Anthony Appiah, whose work I always enjoy, apparently discussing cosmopolitanism in an airport. The film also includes conversations with Judith Butler, Cornel West, and Peter Singer, among others. I read at Inside Higher Ed that Charles Taylor was scheduled to appear, but broke his arm before filming.

It’s interesting to note that most of the philosophers appearing in the movie address social and political themes in their work, and that most are, in some fashion, intellectuals who also regularly engage with non-specialist audiences.

Here’s the trailer:

The filmmaker, Astra Taylor, says that one of her greatest concerns was to frame the discussions so that the audience feels engaged by the philosophers, rather than lectured to or held at a distance. I’d guess that the extent to which she pulled that off will significantly determine the film’s quality.

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~ by staticandme on January 27, 2009.

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