InfoWhale writes "Philosopher's Paradise
Reviewed by Steve Fesenmaier, Nov. 30, 2004
Pawel Kucynski, a Polish-American filmmaker, has created a very nice film about contemporary philosophy. Mixing personal documentary, as in Ross McElwee's works - "Sherman's March," now "Bright Leaves," and a sense of drama as in the Canadian feature, "The Barbarian Invasions," this super-home movie is about a father and son and the family, as are McElwee's films.
There is a paradise in the film - a religious community with that name. But it also refers to the philosophy/religion his father, the founder of "universalism" wants to create. It is important to know that the father decided to create this philosophical religion after the collapse of Communism and the Berlin Wall. Apparently there are now believers from around the world, and we get to meet several of them.
The crisp, often beautiful images are combined with ethereal music That definitely puts the viewer into the proper mood. It is also nice that after a few minutes of it, the director returns to more mundane realities. At the end of the film, we see the philosopher father in the hospital, as the professor is in "The Barbarian Invasions." Luckily, the film doesn't spin off into a melo-drama about 9/11 even though there is one 9/11 scene in the film. All of human life post-9/11 does have some direct link to it - even in Poland.
I found this wonderful little film on the International Documentary Association website - and within a few days the director sent it to me from Poland. What a great reality the web can be - and I thank Pawel for sending it to me so quickly so I don't have to lose my passion for such an interesting sounding film.
Has there ever been a philosopher's paradise? I like to think that philosophers keep their distance from each other so they have room to create their own paradises. I know that while I was at a giant university with two dozen philosophers I certainly did not feel like it was a paradise - I thought that the students and even the professors were minimally interested in anything but their jobs and careers. Plato's Republic also was not a paradise.
Maybe I should learn more about "universalism"?
For more info on the film - http://www.directing.com/index.html"