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The Ister - film based on Heidegger's 1942 Hoelderlin lectures
A film by David Barison and Daniel Ross - (screenings information below)

Based on Martin Heidegger's 1942 Hoelderlin lectures

For those interested in Hediegger's thought, 'The Ister' is a film unlike any other. It is not only about philosophy, but pursues a path of questioning that is at the same time philosophical and cinematic. The point of departure for the film is a lecture course delivered by Martin Heidegger in 1942. The course took the form of an extended meditation on one poem by Friedrich Hoelderlin, "Der Ister," another name for the Danube River. Delivered in the depths of the Second World War, the lecture course is not only a remarkable example of Heidegger's philosophical interpretation of Hoelderlin's poetry. It is also an examination of themes such as place, art, technology, and politics.

'The Ister' begins at the Black Sea, moving upstream along the Danube to its source in the Black Forest. As such, the film journeys in the direction of the historial flow of the Danube westwards, in line with Heidegger's reading of Hoelderlin. At the same time, 'The Ister' offers an opportunity for a series of extended interviews with the philosophers Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe, Jean-Luc Nancy, and Bernard Stiegler, as well as the filmmaker and artist, Hans-Juergen Syberberg. Stiegler begins with an account of the history of humanity as a technical being, from prehistoric times until today. Nancy discusses man insofar as he is a political being. Lacoue-Labarthe thinks through the meaning of Heidegger's involvement with National Socialism, in a candid interview in which he questions his own previous writings on this matter. For anyone interested in Heidegger or philosophy generally, or for anyone simply puzzled by the world in which we live today, 'The Ister' is a unique cinematic achievement that demands to be seen.

Please contact David Barison ( ) if you have any queries regarding screenings (eg in a University or Conference context) or preview copies.

"the find of the festival"

More info:


International Film Festival Rotterdam, January 2004 (world premiere)
Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema, April 2004
Sydney International Film Festival, June 2004
Institute of Contemporary Art, London, July 15-19, 2004
Filmfest Munich, June/July 2004
Marseille International Festival of Documentary Film (in competition), July 2004
Brisbane International Film Festival, July-August 2004
Melbourne International Film Festival, July-August 2004
Anonimul Film Festival, Romania, August 2004
Vancouver International Film Festival, September 2004
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