What if you could watch Socrates, on film, rehearsing his Socratic dialogues? What if there was footage of Descartes, Thoreau, or Shakespeare as themselves at work and in their daily life? Might we now look at these figures differently, with perhaps a deeper understanding of their work and lives? Filmmakers Kirby Dick
and Amy Ziering
Kofman asked themselves these questions, and decided to team up and document one of the most visionary and influential thinkers of the 20th century, a man who single-handedly altered the way many of us look at history, language, art, and, ultimately, ourselves: the brilliant and iconoclastic French philosopher Jacques Derrida
For over five years, Dick and Ziering Kofman played Plato to our own modern day Socrates. The filmmaking team shadowed the renowned philosopher, best known for "deconstruction," and captured intimate footage of the man as he lives and works in his daily life. They filmed Derrida on his first trip to South Africa, where -- after visiting President Mandela's former prison cell -- he delivers a lecture on forgiveness to students at the University of the Western Cape. The filmmakers travel with him from his home in Paris to New York City, where he discusses the role of biographers, and the challenges that are faced when one attempts to bridge the abyssal gulf between a historic figure's work and life. They capture Derrida in private moments, musing reluctantly, about fidelity and marriage, narcissism and celebrity, and the importance of thinking philosophically about love.