Out Of Place: Memories Of Edward Said

I welcomed the prospect of a documentary about Edward Said, the Palestinian-American critic, theorist, activist, and pianist, and this 2005 tribute by Makoto Sato addresses most facets of his career. But I was put off by the video’s fetishistic attachment to places where Said lived and worked, ranging from a family summer home outside Beirut to his former office at Columbia University, which have few secrets to reveal. The interviews with Said’s family, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances are a bit haphazard and unfocused, suggesting at times that Sato is more interested in Said’s life than his work. (Passages from his writing are read as voice-over, but most of them are autobiographical.) Gradually, however, the movie begins to generate a kind of thumbnail sketch of the contemporary West Bank and other concerns of Said. In English and subtitled Arabic and Hebrew. 138 min. (JR)

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