“Hitler’s prediction of disaster came true...”
Simone Weil, seeking to aid the communist party against the rising Nazi Party, went to Berlin in 1932. We see black and white footage of the streets of Berlin. A woman desperately pleads to someone off-screen as her two children watch her expressionlessly. A man in a tattered coat bends down to pick up food and supplies from the ground. People pass by a man sitting on the street who is burying his face in his hands. We then cut to a scene of a crowd of Nazis waving flags and cheering in unison. On a platform, one can see the recognizable figure of Adolf Hitler. A parade of Nazis carrying banners turns violent as they begin to attack onlookers.
We cut to an interview with the philosopher Sylvere Lotringer. “Everyone around her believed that the Communist Party in Germany was so powerful, it was the most powerful in Europe,” he says, explaining the general consensus of the time to the filmmakers.
“Watching what was going on,” Lontringer continues, “how the German people had been destroyed as a nation, she realized that nothing would prevent Hitler from succeeding. And she came back to France and wrote to this effect and no one believed her. One year later all her predictions were true.”
OVID.tv’s AN ENCOUNTER WITH SIMONE WEIL is a Filmmaker’s Search for a Revolutionary
In An Encounter with Simone Weil, director Julia Haslett tries to understand the philosopher and revolutionary by learning about her life and experiences. In this pursuit, she traverses the places Weil’s been known to go. In one scene, Haslett goes to the factory, Weil’s former workplace, to see if the factory was the inspiration behind the worker-led revolution that Marx predicted. We see the remnants of the factory as cars pass by. The camera pans up the front of the building, showing the erosion and decay. Then, we cut to a shot overlooking a busy factory. A woman with her hair pulled back struggles to operate on a piece of machinery. Workers carry car hoods onto conveyor belts and hammer sheets of metal.
After experiencing the life of an industrial worker, Weil concludes that, “Things play the role of men, men play the role of things. There lies the root of the evil. . . . Oppression that is clearly inexorable and invincible does not give rise to revolt but to submission.”
She even performs a mock interview with an actor portraying Weil, allowing us to see what a conversation with her could have possibly looked like. We were able to see a semblance of the personality she might have had, as we see the actress coolly smoking a cigarette as she answers Haslett’s questions.
A Reflection of a Director’s Thoughts and Current Issues
An Encounter with Simone Weil examines the life of one of the 20th century’s fascinating and lesser-known figures. We follow Haslett as she attempts to create a biography that encompasses all aspects of Weil’s life, including her beliefs. For those who wish to watch a biography that deeply dives into the life of its subject and the time they lived in, this might be worth a watch.
Director, Screenwriter, and Editor: Julia Haslett
Music by: Daniel Thomas Davis
Cinematographer: Thomas Torres
Soraya Broukhim as Simone Weil
To watch the film, visit the OVID.tv page for AN ENCOUNTER WITH SIMONE WEIL.
Images courtesy of OVID.tv
About the Author: Jeffrey Bobb
Jeffrey has had a love for writing ever since reading the works of J.R.R. Tolkein and H.P. Lovecraft. Throughout his life he life he has strived to read as much as possible, including the classics, science-fiction, philosophy, horror, psychology, fantasy, and politics. A self-proclaimed political junkie, he always has an opinion for any current event or issue. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, listening to vinyls, getting lost in bookstores or libraries, and watching movies.