Wittgenstein (1993)
An eclectic and engaging journey
25 September 2020
This is a charming quirky little piece from Jarman at somewhere near his best.

Light, engaging and entertaining, the director has made far more difficult and challenging films than Wittgenstein. This is to the good - as the philosopher was undoubtedly a highly complex personality. He needed simplifying.

Jarman treats his subject with great love and sensitivity. The care and attention extends to ensuring that things are kept easy and simple. Wittgenstein's philosophical outpourings are exceptionally hard to access, but we are given just enough so that we appreciate the genius. It's cleverly done.

The craft extends from Wittgenstein's early life and subsequent work right through to scenes on his deathbed. Via this device we catch glimpses of the whole person. We come to learn a lot about our subject through Jarman's deft and sympathetic treatment.

Don't watch this expecting the surreal grit of Jubilee or high art of Caravaggio. Instead, ready yourself for an eclectic journey through the life and works of one of the world's greatest minds. Your guide is Jarman. He clearly cares about Ludwig Wittgenstein and by the end so do we.
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