Sunday, July 31, 2011

An Encounter with Simone Weil

Roda Theatre at the Berkeley Rep

Directed by Julia Haslett

United States, Italy, Sweden, 2010

85 min.


“Attention is the rarest and purist form of generosity,” said Simone
Weil,one of the great thinkers of the 20th century. Weil, who was raised
by a secular Parisian Jewish family and lived during the rise of Fascism
in Europe, paid close attention to the hardships of the poor and
disempowered. Filmmaker Julia Haslett turns her lens on this French
philosopher, whose 16 books were published only after her death in 1943.
Through interviews with Weil’s editors, family and intellectual
descendents, Haslett eloquently traces the trajectory of Weil’s
intellectual identity as it shifted over time; Weil was a trade
unionist, a Marxist, an anti-Stalinist, a pacifist, a fighter in the
Spanish Civil War and a Christian-influenced mystic. “We read writers of
such scathing originality for their personal authority, for the example
of their seriousness, for their manifest willingness to sacrifice
themselves for their truths,” wrote Susan Sontag of Weil. Haslett’s
intimate documentary boldly explores her own artistic encounter with
Simone Weil. When Haslett takes the process of biography to an
extreme—hiring an actor to play Weil so she can better understand this
intellectual pioneer—she brings us into the heart of her creative
process in an act of aesthetic bravery and attentiveness worthy of Weil
herself. (Nancy K. Fishman)

DIRECTOR Julia Haslett in person.

buy advance tickets here.