Watching ‘Derrida, The Movie’

i heart JD.jpg

This post is more of a reminiscence that contextualises the reposting of an entry from my old blog than documentation of any work as such. Bear with me.

Several years ago I bought a set of four badges (from this guy, who is still going strong and worth a look though he no longer sells the set I’m writing about) that riffed on the I love New York design but declared the buyer’s love for, variously Jacques Derrida, John Peel, Russ Meyer, and someone else whose name escapes me. I only have the John Peel one now. I’m pretty sure I gave the Russ Meyer one to an old friend and I know I gave the Derrida one to a woman at an opening in Berlin.

Before giving it away I wore the Derrida badge a lot. This was done as an ironic gesture, as I wasn’t a fan of Derrida’s awkwardness and obscurantism. While studying on my Masters it was recommended that I watch the film Derrida (2002) directed by Amy Ziering Kofman. I did so and, guess what, I started to fall in love. The following list was made while watching the film (which I thoroughly recommend to anyone interested in how philosophers go about thinking and their daily lives).


  • L’avenir (the Other) might be a route to the dystopia.
  • The work and the life needs exploring.
  • Encounters are flawed on both sides as each brings to it their own agenda, which will include expectations, hopes, fears and the like.
  • By observing a situation we change it.
  • Shaking hands and blinking. Can we know what we look like with our eyes shut?
  • What is it like to shake hands with us? Tickling ourselves is impossible.
  • The relationship with a portrait is unheimlich/uncanny. How does the self-portrait fit with this.
  • If I name a film “punchline”, what happens?
  • The clip/fragment (film trailers, next week on…)
  • How does dementia play out for philosophers?
  • Recognition. How do we do it? How does face recognition software work?
  • Echo and Narcissus (daffodis)
  • Two futures – one predictable and programmed
  • The other isn’t. Derrida calls it “L’Avenir” and it brings with it The Other. A “real” future beyond the one that is programmed.
  • A rigorous and inventive interpretation of even a fragment of philosophy will reveal more than a “proper” biography of the philosopher.
  • Biography of the philosopher is traditionally external to philosophy. Heidegger said of Aristotle: “He was born, he thought and he died”.
  • Deconstruction recognizes that which is not natural and underlines and exposes the unnaturalness wherever it exists. It does not happen “after” but is in the architecture of the situation.
  • We have learned to ignore recording devices.
  • “You should know that I stay dressed in my pyjamas and dressing gown until I go out”. Deconstruction again.
  • “The gaze has no age”
  • The hand is the way one encounters The Other. The Other knows better what we look like as we are hampered.
  • “I can’t tell a story”.
  • On love: Is one drawn to The Other because of them “in and of themselves” or rather as a collection of “somethings”? If the latter then love can (will?) die. The Other returns, in other words. The difference between the Who and the What.
  • 200_s“Do we forgive someone or do we forgive someone, something?”
  • “Now, how would two blind people love each other?”
  • The documentary is as much an autobiography of the maker as it is a biography of the subject.

Jacques Derrida says Viola


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: