DVD Wittgenstein [DVD] [1995] [English] [Region 1] (DVD 1202663),
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Wittgenstein [DVD] [1995] [English] [Region 1]

  • NR
  • DVD
  • 1 disc
  • Region 1 USA/CA (info)
  • A highly stylized comic biography of eccentric German philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein (Karl Johnson), this film features the thinker struggling with the absurdities of his life, including a bright green martian and an out-of-place rhinoceros, while also tackling serious subjects such as society's feared reaction to his own homosexuality. Derek Jarman directs this spare, understated look at the life and work of the brilliant yet tortured man. Utilizing only a sparse collection of props to evoke each era and locale, the film follows Wittgenstein from his childhood home in Vienna (symbolized simply by a grand piano) to his enlistment in World War I and, finally, to Cambridge University in England, where he befriended scholars Maynard Keynes (John Quentin) and Bertrand Russell (Michael Gough) and engaged in homosexual affairs with his students. Although he left Cambridge several times, briefly living in Norway and once trying to move to Soviet Russia to assist the revolution there, Wittgenstein always returned to the university--and it was there he finally died. Throughout his life, the philosopher, whose writings explored issues of language and communication, struggled futilely to make others understand his own complex words and ideas--a sentiment expertly captured by Jarman's unique film.
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): Z1102

  • Credits
    Karl Johnson, Michael Gough, Tilda Swinton, Clancy Chassay
  • Critic Reviews
    "...The film's playful and more heartfelt aspects are fused in mournfully beautiful imagery..."
    New York Times

    "...An immaculately lensed, intellectual jape....Always visually alert..."

    "...Jarman has passed through the soul of his first master, Ken Russell, to a cinematic 'other side' where his work has the ethereal potency of unstressed metaphor..."
    Film Comment

    "[T]his is Jarman in playful and provocative groove....You can't help but be heartened by the way Jarman ignores the conventions of film biopics."
    Sight and Sound

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