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A Life to the Mind

URL: http://www.jewishjournal.com/arts/article/a_life_to_the_mind_20021108

What you notice in almost every shot is the hair: abundant, snow-white, carefully coiffed. It's an apt metaphor for Jacques Derrida's mind, which is prolific with ideas, yet well-ordered and consistent in its probity and depth. In a new documentary, filmmakers Amy Ziering Kofman and Kirby Dick make arresting cinema from the mind, memories and habits of a man whose life has been devoted to thought. Derrida, a Jew born in Algeria in 1930, is identified with deconstructionism, a system of thought that challenges established assumptions about the knowledge of what is true and real. But the 85-minute film is far from a static parade of talking heads. Exposition of Derrida's ideas comes mostly through voice-over readings from his books that accompany shots of the philosopher walking from one place to another or scenes of a gritty, industrial Paris rushing past a moving car.

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