Calling all Derridettes: The headiest movie in the annual "Film Comment Selects" is surely The Ister, a three-hour Australian cine-essay inspired by Martin Heidegger's 1942 lecture course on the 19th-century German poet Friedrich Hölderlin's Danubian ode.
David Barison and Daniel Ross's digital-video doc travels upriver past presidential visitations (Romania), bombed bridges (Serbia), Stalin-era steelworks (Hungary), Nazi concentration camps (Mauthausen), and mock classical temples (Bavaria) to the heart of darkness, the Black Forest cabin where Heidegger wrote Being and Time. There is evidently a German term for aquatic road movieswasserstrassebut The Ister also offers a stream of consciousness. Three philosophers, including onetime bank robber Bernard Stiegler, and filmmaker Hans-Jürgen Syberberg provide commentary on Greek myths, European history, and Heidegger's theory of agribusiness.
You may wonder if the humble DV mini-cam is the technology that enframes the river's essence. Indeed, the onrushing landscape, however despoiled, is a Bazinian counterpoint to the babbling brook of Heideggerian seinundzeitis. The movie's single Sunday-afternoon screening will be followed by a panel discussion.
Get the Film Club Newsletter
Stay up to date on the best new movies with our critics' latest reviews, interviews and trailers for the films coming to a theater near you each week.
More Film News
- Alex Gibney: Steve Jobs Had the 'Focus of a Monk — Without the Empathy'
- Netflix’s 'Narcos' Tries to Be 'The Wire' for Colombia’s Drug War
- ‘The Second Mother’ Offers a Sharp Brazilian Take on the Upstairs/Downstairs Drama
- The Predictability of Teary Kids Doc 'My Voice, My Life' Doesn't Make It Any Less Powerful