Thursday, June 09, 2005

Heidegger on Film: The Ister

From the Chronicle of Higher Education:
Time and the River (and Heidegger):
Two Australian filmmakers tour the Danube to unlock the mysteries of one of the 20th century's most influential thinkers


What are viewers to make of a three-hour film about the German philosopher Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) and the legacies of human development along the Danube River, technology, and violent ruptures in recent European history from the Holocaust to the collapse of communism to the breakup of Yugoslavia?

David Barison and Daniel Ross are finding that their 189-minute opus, The Ister (First Run/Icarus Films), has been winning rave reviews and awards in several countries since its debut last year -- including the French Association of Research Cinemas Prize and the Quebec Film Critics' Association Prize. Through its showings at film festivals and conferences, the ambitious project about what the Australian filmmakers describe as "the history of philosophy itself, as it struggles to conceptualize the ideas of existence, lineage, and progress that underpin European civilization's image of itself -- often at the cost of brutal, bloody exclusions" is reinvigorating a conversation among philosophers and historians of ideas as well.

The Ister takes its name from an 1803 poem by Johann Christian Friedrich Hölderlin (1770-1843), about which Heidegger gave a series of lectures in 1942. The poem is among the "hymns" written by Hölderlin to glorify the philosophical legacy of ancient Greece through a mystical meditation on the Danube. (Istros was the river's Greco-Roman name.) In "The Ister," Hölderlin locates sources of natural divinity and community -- as well as the haunting presence of the gods of antiquity -- in the Danube.
via Arts and Letters Daily
Also: From Rouge: The Ister: An Excerpt From Novi Sad to Vukovar

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