Friday, October 10, 2008


Is there irony in the project of trying to capture the true Derrida in a documentary film? Do the directors realize it? What is the format of their "biography"? Does the format provide an acknowledgement of some of his ideas?

Watching a documentary of Derrida is absolutely one of the most ironic projects possible. A man who suggests that our system of understanding (language) is unstable being documented on film, which is arguably the most manipulated form of representation (think of editing processes, the pretense of the fourth wall, any reality television show that is on currently). The brilliance of it comes from the directors being aware of this irony. Why? Because it exposes what Derrida thinks in that kind of setting. He admits that he is not being himself as he is himself when there are no cameras around- no one can be. I refuse to believe that people act purely and candidly while knowing there is a camera watching them. Capturing anyone in this format seems to be a supportive argument to Derrida's view of instability in representation; using Derrida himself however is perhaps the ultimate example. More so than trying to capture who Jacues Derrida is or was the film captures the 'what' of his theories and ideas quite abstractly.


A. Crawford said...

I agree that although ironic Derrida’s documentary is in fact brilliant. The directors and Derrida emphasize that he is not himself with the cameras and lights around him. I remember one particular shot of Derrida walking down the street with the camera in his face, almost obstructing his line of direction. This shows first hand the effect of other things around changing a persons true way of action.

LP said...

I agree with the statement posted above. I think there are many different examples throughout the movie which demonstrate the way in which Derrida is not really his true self when the cameras around. One of these I always think of is him being dressed up working from home and saying "i don't usually dress like this i'm normally in my pajamas". Even little things as simple as that really give us the impression that what we are seeing isn't the true Derrida