A Missing Self

Mikhail Epstein in “A Missing Self”

Didn’t I say “I am not ever again making a documentary project without a script”? Yes, I did. From now on I’ll really do it right: write a script first (starting with an outline!), eat my oatmeal, exercise daily and be always present and accounted for. Yeah, right.

Still, the project is done. And I like it! I must have grew attached to it during the long process of editing. It took months and months to lock its final 29 minutes. As always I tortured my students, friends and loved ones with multiple versions of the emerging film. Bless you all for patience and putting up with my process.

This essayistic documentary riff on identity, cultural boundaries and ways to transcend them takes its philosophical cue from Mikhail Epstein’s concept of transculture. Here is a video clip with Mikhail. It is taking almost 100 years for culture and psychology to catch up with the noncontinuity, noncasuality, nonlocality model of reality formulated by modern physics at the beginning of the XX century.

Anyway, “A Missing Self” is a companion to "The Phenomenology of Truth." Both projects marvel about the ways we seek the truth. While "The Phenomenology..." deals with our perception of the outside world, "Missing" attempts to address the way we see our own selves.

The art piece that’s the center of “A Missing Self” comes from a Japanese performer who has already appeared in “The Phenomenology”.

The second layer of the film comes from an international philosophical conference in Hiroshima. The material represents wealth of ideas, scenes and personalities which - together with other similar archives of mine - waits for the right circumstances to blossom into some philosophical “Gone with the wind” documentary. Until that happens, snippets are used here and there. “A Missing Self” is such an occurrence.

I regret that I had to limit the number of contributors and only took short lines from their talks. These quotes are used in a highly selective an arbitrary fashion, mostly out of their original contexts. The same is true about the performance piece. Therefore any conceptual shortcomings in either material are solely mine. At the same time the film's value is overwhelmingly due to the performer, the philosophers and the people I met during the production. Thank you all.

More info about the film.

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