File spoon-archives/bourdieu.archive/bourdieu_2001/bourdieu.0106, message 5

Subject: Re: Bourdieu film
Date: Mon, 11 Jun 2001 09:30:18 -0400

Hello everyone.

I saw the video last week (it is currently playing across the street from 
the Beaubourg Center in Paris), and while my French is terrible (and the 
movie is not subtitled), I can contribute a few impressions.

First, there is a web site detailing how the documentary is being released 
without paid advertisement.  The name of the video comes from an interview 
during the middle of the video in which a youngish radio interviewer 
interjects into Bourdieu's searching for a phrase by asking (perhaps 
incredulously) "Sociology is a combative sport?"  Bourdieu indeed suggests 
it is.

The director Pierre Carles followed Bourdieu for three years.  His web site 
insists that the video is not a hagiography, but Carles does not go out of 
his way to "be critical" of Bourdieu.  He does, however, juxtapose typical 
Bourdieu pronouncements on his ideas (primarily covered are issued raised in 
Distinction/Homo Academicus/The State Nobility, The Weight of the World and 
Masculine Domination) with more humerous snippets, including a young woman 
who recognizes Bourdieu on the street and gives him an earfull.

Finally, as for the "facile seduction of media fame" the video's penultimate 
scene is a very long panel session that turns into a debate between various 
audience members while the panel of academics looks on anxiously. Bourdieu 
is accused of being exactly what he rallies against -- a media intellectual, 
and is denounced (presumably by an student of Algerian desent) as a mere 
academic.  His reply is both cordial but irritated at the rampant 
anti-intellectualism that passes as criticism.  This whole sequence is shown 
with minimal editing and I was struck by how long the accuser had the floor. 
  In my experience in (American) universities he would have been cut off 
long before by a moderator asking "What is your question, sir?"

The video was showing four times a day in a smallish theater.  The 18h45 
showing last Thursday was almost full.   Carles clearly is sympathetic with 
On Television -- no speedboat dialogue or fast cutting between cameras -- 
and he fills the video with a lot of different, long cuts of Bourdieu (and 
ocassional others) explaining ideas deliberately and lengthily to different 
types of audiences.

I don't think it will sway any opinions:  those already "converted" will 
find more manna, and those inclined to see him a media whore will find his 
on-camera smile or ease in the spotlight more evidence for a conviction.

Pierre Carles website:

Timo Lindman
New York City

>Anyone seen the Bourdieu film currently being screened in Paris?  Reports,
>My suspicions tend towards those of a friend of mine, who said after a
>trip to Brussels: "Anyway, whilst I was over there, I came across advance
>publicity for a feature film, which came out in Paris last week, about,
>you guessed it, Pierre Bourdieu. Not the same Pierre Bourdieu who shuns
>the facile seductions of media fame & temporal reward, you cry. Why yes,
>it is the very same."
>Take care

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