Colloquium | Max Cavitch

Wednesday, February 8, 2012 - 12:00pm

Max Cavitch

No One Voice

This colloquium is about what filmmakers and audiences do with multiple languages and with "foreign" voices as they reach the limits of understanding. My remarks will be based on an essay I'm currently writing about Egyptian filmmaker Safaa Fathy’s short film, Nom à la mer (2007), in which a poem written by Fathy in Arabic is recited off-screen in French translation by the Algerian-born philosopher Jacques Derrida. This deceptively simple film--which centers visually on a reflecting pool in southern Spain, where both Fathy and Derrida are foreigners, displaced from motherlands and mother tongues--exemplifies the complex relation between speech and voice at the center of Derrida's oeuvre, including his collaborations with other writers and artists such as Fathy. I hope that my remarks on this particular film will give us some opportunities for thinking together more broadly, as well, about filmic voices within and across psychic, personal, linguistic, and national boundaries--even the boundaries of life and death.

Jacques Derrida and Safaa Fathy.

Cinema Studies Program
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