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- Year: 2008
- Film Format: 35mm
- Origin: Canada
- Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
- Runtime: 88 mins
- Sound Format: Stereo
- Language: English
Examined Life pulls philosophy out of academic journals and classrooms, and puts it back on the streets...
In Examined Life, filmmaker Astra Taylor accompanies some of today’s most influential thinkers on a series of unique excursions through places and spaces that hold particular resonance for them and their ideas.
Peter Singer’s thoughts on the ethics of consumption are amplified against the backdrop of Fifth Avenue’s posh boutiques. Slavoj Zizek questions current beliefs about the environment while sifting through a garbage dump. Michael Hardt ponders the nature of revolution while surrounded by symbols of wealth and leisure. Judith Butler and a friend stroll through San Francisco’s Mission District questioning our culture’s fixation on individualism. And while driving through Manhattan, Cornel West—perhaps America’s best-known public intellectual—compares philosophy to jazz and blues, reminding us how intense and invigorating a life of the mind can be. Offering privileged moments with great thinkers from fields ranging from moral philosophy to cultural theory,Examined Life reveals philosophy’s power to transform the way we see the world around us and imagine our place in it.
Featuring Cornel West, Avital Ronell, Peter Singer, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Martha Nussbaum, Michael Hardt, Slavoj Zizek, Judith Butler and Sunaura Taylor.
See also ZIZEK! and THE PERVERT’S GUIDE TO IDEOLOGY.
Astra Taylor is a writer and documentary filmmaker. She was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1979 and raised in Athens, Georgia.
She holds an MA in Liberal Studies from the New School for Social Research and has been an instructor in sociology departments at the University of Georgia and State University of New York, New Paltz where she has taught classes on social theory, globalization, and the sociology of film. Her writing has appeared in the Monthly Review, The Nation, Adbusters,Salon, and other outlets.
In 2001 she spent two months in southern Senegal with a partner producing and directing (and later editing) The Miracle Tree: Moringa Oleifera, a 45-minute documentary shot on digital video. The project was commissioned by an international NGO to record efforts of a local sustainable development project to alleviate the plight of infant malnutrition.
In 2002 Astra associate produced Persons of Interest, a feature documentary directed by Allison Maclean (Jesus’ Son) about the round up and detention of Muslims and Arabs in the aftermath of September 11th. The film was an official selection at the 2004 Sundance, Rotterdam, and Human Rights Watch film festivals and won the Amnesty International Humanitarian Award at the Chicago International Documentary Film Festival.
Astra then directed Zizek!, a feature documentary about the world’s most famous philosopher. It premiered at the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival, is distributed in North America by Zeitgeist Films and the Institute for Contemporary Art in the UK, and was broadcast on the Sundance Channel.
Examined Life, a series of excursions with contemporary thinkers, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2008. A companion book will be published by The New Press in spring 2009.
One of Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 New Faces to Watch” of 2006, Astra currently runs Hidden Driver Productions with Laura Hanna, which specializes in intellectual, cultural and political issues.
in co-production with
THE NATIONAL FILM BOARD OF CANADA
in association with
ONTARIO MEDIA DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION
Written and Directed by ASTRA TAYLOR
in order of appearance
KWAME ANTHONY APPIAH
Directed by ASTRA TAYLOR
Producer BILL IMPERIAL
Producer, NFB LEA MARIN
Executive Producer RON MANN
Executive Producer, NFB SILVA BASMAJIAN
Commissioning Editor, TVO JANE JANKOVIC
Sound Recordist SANJAY MEHTA
Sound Design JOHN LAING
Director of Photography JOHN M. TRAN
Editor ROBERT KENNEDY
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