Examined Life

Director: Astra Taylor
Year Released: 2008
Rating: 1.0

The unexamined film is not worth making. Taylor asks several prominent philosophers to talk about their own areas of expertise and gives them a tiny window to do it in, essentially trying to get each to boil down years of work and research into seven to ten minute blurbs. Without a cohesive thesis and covering several radically different subjects, it's a total wreck. Some of the speakers manage to cram a lot of verbiage into their own clips - Cornel West, used to speaking quickly for TV audiences, does fine while others just seem to present some bullet points (and, from the looks of it, Prof. Ronell just got out of tai-chi class). It does, to its credit, manage to humanize the incredibly obscure but profoundly literate Judith Butler, who is considerably more understandable in real-life than on paper ... plus she sports a kick-ass leather jacket. Foucault approves!