I’m becoming a documentary junkie off late. So i saw a couple of them and they seem to be more entertaining than movies. The point is I feel i’ve taken away more if the documentary makes me think & question some of my preconceived notions. This documentary did precisely that. Is the man who is tall happy is one of the top documentaries that came out last year. Its made by Michel Gondry the french film director who also made the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
The documentary is very illustrative with a series of animations to almost everything that is being described in the scene. It’s just a conversation between Gondry and Noam Chomsky the american linguist & philosopher. Their conversation drifts to anything from the origins of science and philosophy to how our most distant memories impact us. Gondry does it best by trying to interject Chomsky’s intricate teaching of language, his thoughts on beliefs to how he handles personal relationships. I think its a good way to show the emotional side of a scientist or a thinker. Most documentaries focus on an aspect or issue, but this one seamlessly dwells on a multitude of topics.
I must warn that this one doesn’t make for an easy viewing. Most of the times, i kept thinking and sifting through my own thought process. At times we have such misguided notion & assimilate very little of our surroundings. Chomsky keeps driving the point that we need to question everything. He draws references to Descartes, Plato, Aristotle, Galileo to Newton when explaining. The point is that he doesn’t get to the later scientists like Einstein because he wants us to be drawn to the first human experiences of questioning our environment. The part where he talks about how in ancient times everything was though to have a simple explanation is intriguing. Made me think back to my school days, during the exams if i got an answer too easy, i would mostly think something is wrong with the math.
On the whole if you’re looking to watch something to stimulate your brain cells, this is a definite watch. Plus Gondry’s animation will never leave you with a dull moment even as Chomsky drift away. The anime is pretty trippy to keep you glued anyways.