Derrida | Chicago Reader


If you think 85 minutes devoted to a “difficult” French philosopher is bound to be either abstruse or watered-down, think again: offscreen interlocutor Amy Ziering Kofman, a former student of Jacques Derrida, collaborating with codirector Kirby Dick, has worked out a very accessible and unpretentious way of conveying both the philosophy and likable personality of her subject. There's an admirable effort to interconnect the banal facts of his everyday life with his philosophical inquiries without being coy or fussy about it. Following Derrida around in a variety of circumstances (lecturing, visiting South Africa, chatting with friends), this 2002 documentary explores some aspects of his difficult childhood as a Jew in Algeria as well as his philosophy, with his excellent English frequently coming into play to clarify or amplify his subtitled French.

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