Sunday, December 29, 2013

Meeting of the Minds

Is the Man Who is Tall Happy? (2013) - GondryImage
Bulk of criticisms of Noam Chomsky, an activist and cognitive scientist, comes from his seeming inability to give satisfactory answers in interviews. In Manufacturing Consent, the filmmakers point out this very problem: Chomsky's lengthy explanation on any given subject is not quite fitting for a 5-10 or even 30 minute TV debate format. Considering he is a renowned linguist, then perhaps it's the questions that are put on him the wrong kinds? In this charming, mostly hand drawn Animated documentary, Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of Spotless Mind, Science of Sleep) makes that dissonance work and less awkward.

It's pretty much two men just talking in a very relaxed, intimate manner. Gondry wisely keeps political subjects at bay and concentrate on happier, more benign things. The heavily French accented director's inquiry is mainly in how we human beings perceive the world and how the language comes in to play. Chomsky insists that human's physical perception of the world is a wrong way to look at the world. A dog which turned into a camel in a children's book is still a dog. fghttagifwkwftgggehr. My favorite moments are short glimpses into Chomsky's private life, especially about his wife Carol who passed away in 2008. I was expecting to be bored out of my skull but the film turns out to be very engaging. I'd love to watch this again.