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Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Derek Jarman|
Assistant Director - Davina Nicholson
|Produced by||Tariq Ali|
|Written by||Ken Butler|
|Starring||Clancy Chassay, Michael Gough and Tilda Swinton|
|Music by||Jan Latham-Koenig|
|Edited by||Budge Tremlett|
|17 September 1993|
|Budget||£300,000 ($ 450,000)|
Wittgenstein is a 1993 film by the English director Derek Jarman. It is loosely based on the life story as well as the philosophical thinking of the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. The adult Wittgenstein is played by Karl Johnson. Tilda Swinton portrayed the Wittgenstein’s rather camp aristocratic mistress.
The original screenplay was by the literary critic Terry Eagleton. Jarman heavily rewrote the script during pre-production and shooting, radically altering the style and structure, although retaining much of Eagleton's dialogue. The story is not played out in a traditional setting, but rather against a black backdrop within which the actors and key props are placed, as if in a theatre setting.
The film was originally part of a series of 12 films on the life and ideas of the philosopher, produced by Tariq Ali on behalf of Channel Four. Only four scripts got commissioned, Socrates by Howard Brenton, Spinoza by Tariq Ali, Locke by David Edgar and Wittenstein by Terry Eagleton. Spinoza was filmed and directed by Chris Spencer as Spinoza : The Apostle of Reason. Also Citizen Locke was filmed and directed by Agnieszka Piotrowska. They were transmitted in 1994 as 52 min long television films.
- Clancy Chassay as young Wittgenstein
- Karl Johnson as adult Wittgenstein
- Nabil Shaban as Martian
- Michael Gough as Bertrand Russell
- Tilda Swinton as Lady Ottoline Morrell
- John Quentin as Maynard Keynes
- Kevin Collins as Johnny
- Lynn Seymour as Lydia Lopokova
- Eagleton, Terry (1993). Wittgenstein: The Terry Eagleton Script, The Derek Jarman Film. London, England: British Film Institute, pp. 151. ISBN 978-0-85170-397-8
Critical reception for the film has been generally positive and the movie holds a rating of 83% on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 6 reviews and an audience score of 76% from 617 views. Derek Elley of Variety (magazine) in 1993, stated it was a "immaculately lensed, intellectual joke" with "gay subtext".
- Elley, Derek (23 February 1993). "Wittgenstein". Variety. Retrieved 22 September 2018.
- Tindle, Hannah (14 June 2017). "Tilda Swinton's Most Fabulous Character to Date". anothermag.com. Retrieved 21 September 2018.
- Rowland Wymer Derek Jarman, p. 158, at Google Books
- Derek Jarman Smiling in Slow Motion, p. 324, at Google Books
- "Wittgenstein". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 21 September 2018.
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