February 12, 2013

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90 minutes

format: Blu-ray

A FREE Advance Screening and Q&A with Director Michel Gondry and Prof. Noam Chomsky

Is the Man Who is Tall Happy?: An Animated Conversation with Noam Chomsky (2013)

February 12, 2013 at 7:00 pm in 26-100


Listen to an introduction to the film, by Animation Matters (5 MB mp3)
Listen to the Q&A with Michel Gondry and Noam Chomsky (17 MB mp3)

This FREE advance screening will be followed by a Q&A session with Director Michel Gondry and MIT Professor Noam Chomsky. Doors open at 6:30pm, and admission is on a first-come-first-served basis.

Funded (in part) by a Director's Grant from the Council for the Arts at MIT.

Is the Man Who is Tall Happy? is an animated documentary on the life of MIT professor and linguist Noam Chomsky. Directed by Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Science of Sleep), the film features a series of conversations between Gondry and Chomsky as they explore the life and work of Noam Chomsky.

In the words of the director:

"My conversations with Professor Chomsky were lively, sometime complex, always very human. Through my illustrations, we follow the winding path of my halting and incomplete understanding. Noam is often patient, sometime less so. The trail always follows unexpected bends. The process and logic of Noam's stream of ideas have determined the transitions and evolution of my drawings. The concept of 'animated documentary' finds a perfect justification here.

At the heart of the conversation, we encounter Noam's theory of the emergence of language. Listening to Noam discuss this topic made we wonder what it would have been like to meet the astronomer Edwin Hubble and listen to him talk about the red shift he observed from distant galaxies and how it led to the theory of the big bang. Maybe that is a weak comparison, but it is another way of simply saying I felt privileged to have this dialogue.

In the end, what will stay the most with me in these discussions is Noam Chomsky's humanity, the way he respects people's different ways of life, their beliefs - and, above all, the way he often includes his wife, Carol Chomsky, in the conversations, and in some way keeps her alive and next to him."

-- Director Michel Gondry