“THE TROUBLE WITH BEING HUMAN THESE DAYS”
Documentary film treatment
‘We live in a world which no longer questions itself, which lives from one day to another managing successive crises, without knowing where it is going and without trying to plan the itinerary’.
How accurate description of the global state of affairs these words are we only realize now, in 2011, twelve years after they were written in Zygmunt Bauman’s In search of politics. Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the University of Leeds, Polish Jew, an extraordinarily prolific scholar in political theory, philosophy, ethics, art history - Zygmunt Bauman is a unique figure in a great many respects. His life story would be enough to make a subject of an epic-sized documentary. But on top of everything else Zygmunt Bauman is simply a very wise man. ‘Late flowering’ is a phrase which best describes the period when he retired from academic work in 1990 and started to publish books almost annually. This incessant flow of ideas concerning subjects ranging from East Enders to Eastern European philosophy continues to this day. Unsurprisingly, Bauman’s insights into the pitfalls of globalisation and consumerism have always drawn attention of crowds far exceeding typical academic audience.
This film is a bold attempt at making a provocative, and yet informed diagnosis of the modern uncertainty. We are looking for parallels between Bauman’s personal life and his concepts of society and we aim at putting them in the context of our shared European, turbulent history. Over the course of six months we followed Zygmunt Bauman in his academic trips to Lithuania, Spain, Austria, Slovakia, Germany and Poland. What emerged as a result is a unique collection of footage including Bauman’s lectures, panel discussions, award ceremonies, but also informal interviews and very personal reflections filmed during walks in the stunning European locations. We’ve met his friends, collaborators, daughters and the grandson. This core structure of the film is intertwined with interviews with major figures in the field of sociology, politics and philosophy, such as George Ritzer, Neal Lawson, Andrew Simms, Cezary Wodzinski and Albert-László Barabási. In a sense this film is a ‘road movie’. It is a highly visual, avoiding conventional ‘talking heads’ journey through Bauman’s life and our anxieties. As the story unfolds, we start to realise that there is a dark side to our contemporary society, which we might never expected to see.
Duration: 55 minutes approximately
Format: XDCAM HD
Director: Bartek Dziadosz*
Producer: Grzegorz Lepiarz ** / Bartek Dziadosz
Executive Producer: Grzegorz Lepiarz / Leonidas Donskis, Ph.D. ***
Release date: March 2013
* Bartek Dziadosz is a documentary filmmaker, film editor and Ph.D candidate at the London Consortium. He graduated from Law and Film Studies at the Jagiellonian University in Cracow and later from the Westminster Film School in London. He has previously worked for the Polish television channels TVN and TVP. His last independent project was a video installation about Londoners with Polish roots hosted by the Museum of London. As an editor he has recently finished working on a documentary about Lech Walesa directed by Agnieszka Piotrowska. He currently also works as the deputy director of the London Consortium TV. His Ph.D thesis is an attempt to revisit theory of film editing and the New Wave cinema.
** Grzegorz Lepiarz is an accomplished photographer and producer. He graduated from Film Studies at the Silesian University in Katowice. Since moving to London he has worked as a freelance photographer with commissions from BBC3, Royksoop, Gotan Project, Emiliana Torrini, Storm Model agency, national culture institutions and leading magazines within the UK and Poland. In 2009 he co-produced with Polish Cultural Institute in London a project entitled London Creatives: Polish Roots which was hosted by the Museum of London and was exhibited in various galleries. He was commissioned by the University of Leeds to follow Professor Bauman around the Europe and record his lectures. He is currently directing and producing documentary “A Man of the Borderland” about people living close to borderlines. He now lives between London and Berlin.
*** Dr. Leonidas Donskis is a Member of the European Parliament (2009–2014). He has written and edited thirty books, thirteen of them in English. Donskis combines political theory, history of ideas, philosophy of culture, philosophy of literature, and essayistic style. Among other books, he is the author of Modernity in Crisis: A Dialogue on the Culture of Belonging (2011), Troubled Identity and the Modern World (2009), Power and Imagination: Studies in Politics and Literature (2008), and Forms of Hatred: Troubled Imagination in Modern Philosophy and Literature (2003). His works are published in 14 languages. A wandering scholar in the past, Donskis has been researching and lecturing in the USA, Great Britain, and Europe. He acts as a visiting professor of politics at Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas, Lithuania. Donskis holds an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters from the University of Bradford, Great Britain. He hosted the political and cultural debate program Pique-Free on Lithuanian TV (2003–2009).