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Wittgenstein [VHS]

4.3 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Karl Johnson, Michael Gough, Tilda Swinton, John Quentin, Kevin Collins
  • Directors: Derek Jarman
  • Writers: Derek Jarman, Ken Butler, Terry Eagleton
  • Producers: Ben Gibson, Takashi Asai, Tariq Ali
  • Format: VHS
  • Language: English
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Connoisseur
  • VHS Release Date: 24 Jan. 2000
  • Run Time: 70 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004CNHH
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 477,218 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

Derek Jarman's biography of the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein makes economical use of minimal sets and costumes, to trace its subject's education in Austria and Cambridge, his life and his work. Karl Johnson stars, with Michael Gough as Bertrand Russell.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By Mrs. K. A. Wheatley TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 19 Oct. 2007
Format: DVD
Derek Jarman rarely had money to make films, and although his vision was immense, the cupboard was bare. Tilda Swinton (his muse) remarked that this is what makes his films so great, because they always had to come up with new ideas to realise his vision on screen. Here this consists of an inky black backdrop against which scenes from Wittgenstein's life are played out, almost like charades. The characters are dressed in vivid colours and strut like jewelled birds against the blackness. The lighting, as with Caravaggio, is fantastic. It's not really a film to see if you want to know a great deal about Wittgenstein, although it does deal with his philosophy as well as his peculiar personal quirks which are handled with great wit and a lovely sense of comic timing, but because of its fragmented nature (the film is held together visually rather than in narrative form) it allows you to savour vignettes rather than a 'life'. To me this is more about Jarman than Wittgenstein, which is no bad thing. Really a painter's film, it celebrates Jarman's love of colour and is a moving elegy for the fact that at this time he was beginning to lose his sight, and wanted to capture as much colour as possible.
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Format: DVD
Although there is no accounting for the audacious and experimental style in which artist and filmmaker Derek Jarman has put together this offbeat biography of the famed philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, one can't help feeling a little disappointed by the slight and unimaginative focus the film gives to the real life concerns of this great and forward thinking individual. As the previous reviewer points out, if you (much like myself) know little to nothing about the philosophical or biographical background of Wittgenstein the man, then this film really offers very little in the way of enlightenment; never giving the audience the chance to gain real insight into the character or the events of his life, save perhaps, for a few brief scenes included to prove a poinr. This lack of information and development is a serious problem that mars the film greatly and is a problem that can only be attributed to Jarman and the writers.

Much like his similarly themed, off-kilter biography of the artist Caravaggio (1986), Jarman here ignores the facts and instead opts for more of a personal deconstruction. As much admiration as I have for the director to break away from the usually rigid confines of biographical pictures that seem to force feed the audience an entire life in a neat and digestible two-hour course, I do not admire his way of frequently shifting focus from any real artistic or intellectual talent, onto what seem like very trivial, melodramatic examinations of sexuality.
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By A Customer on 15 April 2003
Format: VHS Tape
this is a film that no description of mine can do justice to...it is not really a biography of his life, more an interpretation of his life, ideas, personality through the mind and eye of Jarman. It is one of those rare works of art that is impossible to shake off for all the right reasons...the beauty of light on faces, the exraordinary look in Karl Johnsons eyes, the sight of a Green dwarf Alien discussing epistamology with a small boy sitting on a red post-box...and it manages to be one of the least pretentious things I have ever seen. (and forgive me if my review makes it sound like some art-school rubish, it is too firmly grounded, too filled with smiles to be that).
This really is one of the great works of art in cinema and one of the great works of individuality I have yet come across.
It ties with Mirror by Tarkovsky on my most watched and most loved film pile....
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Format: DVD
This film is the most surprising film you can expect from a deeply impressionistic film maker. Philosophy is by definition not impressionistic since it has to be logical and perfectly well organized in a rational way. Yet Derek Jarman dares to make a film on a philosopher, and actually more on philosophy because the man himself seems to be in a way made secondary.

Wittgenstein was obsessed with language, but not as a tool to express some thoughts or concepts that was able to build itself and its own architecture along with the mind and the mind's architecture that carried language, both through the very use of language and the mind themselves. Language is not seen as self-made and self-making expressive tool used by discourse to enable human thought to emerge, to build itself by expressing itself in communication.

Language for him is a limitation.

He considers logic is the acme of human intelligence, not language and language does not contain the whole logic of the human mind, even if it can express it. In fact he is a visual mind and he tries to express with words a logic he can represent in his mind's eye visually. He does not see that without language logic would never have been constituted. He ignores the fact that time, space and logic are human inventions for the cosmic duration, distance and orientation, and dependent origination (as the Buddhist would say for the last dimension) and are nothing but models of what the human brain and mind can observe in the outside world.

Wuttgenstein was a friend of Bertrand Russell but apparently he did not integrate Russell's lectures on logic delivered in the USA in the 1920s.
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