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Derrida's Elsewhere (1999)

D'ailleurs, Derrida (original title)
An exploration of the life and ideas of Jacques Derrida (1930-2004), arguably the most important philosopher of the 20th Century.




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Credited cast:
Jean-Luc Nancy ...
Jean-Luc Nancy
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jacques Derrida ...


An exploration of the man and his ideas, DERRIDA'S ELSEWHERE investigates the parallels between the personal life and the life work of arguably the most important philosopher of the 20th Century, Jacques Derrida. We follow Derrida around his home, office, in the classroom and on his travels as he speaks of the suffering, the challenges and the questions that have conditioned his thought since his childhood in Algeria. The film is woven around readings from Derrida's book Circumfession, evoking a number of seemingly disparate themes including hospitality, religion, sexuality and the place of the subject in philosophy. Derrida shows us the common thread he perceives running though them: responsibility. Incorporating related imagery, DERRIDA'S ELSEWHERE uses footage of the places Derrida knew in his childhood and adolescence in Algeria, photos of his life there, super-8 footage from the 1960's and 70's, and images from Spain. The transitory nature of Place is a concept that has occupied ... Written by leila-59

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1999 (Spain)  »

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In "D'ailleurs Derrida",director Safaa Fathy attempts to understand the greatness of 20th century's greatest philosopher Jacques Derrida (1930-2004)
29 October 2014 | by (Paris,France) – See all my reviews

As one of 20th century's greatest philosophers, Monsieur Jacques Derrida gives free rein to his thoughts to discuss the concepts of 'Ailleurs', 'Autobiography' 'Forgiveness', 'Hospitality' etc. The theme of meeting of minds is shown as his friend, French philosopher Jean Luc Nancy too shares some anecdotes in order to speak about their friendship. Jean Luc Nancy has known Derrida since 1969. He even sent a small essay to him even though they didn't know each other. He was surprised by the reply which he got from Derrida. Derrida had read some of Nancy's articles which were published before. He informed him that they would meet one of these days. Nancy upon reading Derrida's works was struck by a philosophy which was developing itself. The film "Derrida Elsewhere" begins with Derrida's confession that whatever there is about him could not proceed without a strange reference to "elsewhere". For Derrida, elsewhere is here. If elsewhere were elsewhere then it wouldn't be here. Writing for Derrida is an act through which he searches an identity. According to him, if we write an autobiography, it is because we are motivated by the desire and fantasy of meeting "I". Derrida establishes his link with colonialism as well as post colonialism by declaring himself as a product of these periods. He states that he belongs to a certain idea of French colonies. As far as religion is concerned, Derrida identifies himself as a Marrano (marrane en Français). It has become an obsession for him. The question of secret has always worried him. For him, a secret has to be respected which is the mission of a Marrano. He also talks about Christianity. We cannot escape Christianity as it is in the name of Christianity that we get rid of it. The "death of god" is a Christian theme. For Derrida, nothing is more Christian than that. The film shows Derrida's casual attitude in life with Derrida driving a car, standing in front of an aquarium or sitting opposite the sea. The quest of an "absolute secret" has become an obsession for him. There is something magical, a divine like quality in this great thinker that drives people to attend his lectures in large numbers. One of his lectures even has a special attendee in the form of Mrs. Derrida who sat in the front row. Derrida's lecture about "Forgiveness" in the form of a play involving four important characters Hegel, Mandela, Tutu and Clinton is an outstanding example of a very tough intellectual puzzle. How popular was Derrida can be judged by the fact that there is always full house to listen to his lectures ! Derrida and his ideas have global appeal as there are people from different countries as audiences of his lectures. Lastly, it would not be possible for any viewer to have a concrete idea about the meaning, message and significance of "D'Ailleurs Derrida" through a single viewing as some of Derrida's complex ideas would need to be understood in detail. Hence, it is advisable to watch "Derrida Elsewhere" more than once in order to fathom the complexities of this great philosopher's ideas.

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