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The Life and Death of Walter Benjamin

Author: Poorhouse International

A documentary to go with the opera “Benjamin, Dernière Nuit” by Michel Tabachnik recorded at Lyon Opera in March.

  • Benjamin, Dernière Nuit | Copyright: © Fleth

    Benjamin, Dernière Nuit © Fleth

A documentary to go with the opera “Benjamin, Dernière Nuit” recorded by Telmondis at Lyon Opera in March. The world première was a great success and Reiner E. Moritz took the opportunity to interview members of the cast as well as librettist Régis Debray and composer Michel Tabachnik. Debray, one-time companion of Che Guevara, unfolds the life story of essayist, critic and philosopher Walter Benjamin in flash-back, who took his life at Port-Bou while fleeing Nazi occupied France in 1940. He cleverly splits the character of Benjamin into an actor and a singer, the latter surviving in the opera as a symbol of Benjamin´s work which has lost none of its actuality. This documentary sheds new light on the life of Benjamin, discusses his major works and, with the use of clips from the opera enhances the understanding of the milieu Benjamin worked in. The librettist also pokes fun at writer André Gide, who was not very helpful to Benjamin as well as Max Horkheimer of the Frankfurt School, who was supposed to supply him with a job in the US, and uses the famous photograph of Benjamin and Brecht playing chess to recreate the roaring twenties in Berlin.

Director Reiner E. Moritz
Production Company Telmondis
Duration 58 Minutes

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