Examined Life, starting tonight!

The indomitable Astra Taylor‘s new documentary Examined Life is opening in the Bay Area!  Astra is my dear friend Sunny (Sunaura) Taylor‘s sister, and a major  documentary film-maker. The Taylor women are an unbelievably fierce, brilliant, high-achieving sister act (way fiercer, dare I say, than the Wofford sisters, who tend to sit around eating paint, mostly).

Anyway, Sunny is also featured (in conversation with Judith Butler!) in Examined Life:


In her film, Astra accompanies some of today’s most influential thinkers on a series of unique excursions through places and spaces that hold particular resonance for them and their ideas, riffing off Socrates’ (you know, So-crates?) statement, “The unexamined life is not worth living”.

Peter Singer’s thoughts on the ethics of consumption are amplified against the backdrop of Fifth Avenue’s posh boutiques. Sifting through a London garbage dump Slavoj Zizek turns the common view of ecology upside down. Surrounded by symbols of wealth and leisure Michael Hardt ponders the nature of revolution. Judith Butler and a friend stroll through San Francisco’s Mission District questioning our culture’s fixation and individualism. And while driving through Manhattan, Cornel West””perhaps America’s best-known public intellectual””compares philosophy to jazz and blues, reminding us how intense and invigorating a life of the mind can be. Offering privileged moments with great thinkers from fields ranging from moral philosophy to cultural theory, Examined Life reveals philosophy’s power to transform the way we see the world around us and imagine our place in it.

I haven’t seen it yet, but I will definitely catch it sometime in the next week. Shoot, anyone who gets Cornel West to go on a nice long ramble in the back of her Volvo while driving around, and gets Slavoj Zizek in a sassy orange vest has got my vote, so that’s gotta be worth the price of admission right there. Examined Life got a major shout-out in the NY Times recently, so if my cheerleading isn’t enough to convince you, you can take it from one of their experts.

Mr Pointy, backseat driver

Mr Sassy, jazz hands

Examined Life showtimes below, at:

Landmark Shattuck Cinemas
Shattuck Ave, Berkeley
*Astra and Sunaura in person this Saturday 3/7 at the 5 and 715 pm screenings!

Sundance Kabuki Cinemas
Post Street at Fillmore, San Francisco
*Astra and Sunaura in person this Friday 3/6 and Sunday 3/8 at the 5 and 7 pm screenings!

other places in California and the rest of the US
on the film’s website

Astra is also giving a talk about the film at the Berkeley Art Museum on Monday March 9th at 4pm.
The film has a limited run here in the Bay Area, so catch it sooner rather than later!

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