Item 1 of 4

Available for rent
77 min
Quebec, 2018

Production : Les Films de l'Autre
French, English
French, English

Les films de Carlos Ferrand


From 1933 until his suicide in 1940, the German Jewish philosopher, cultural critic, and essayist Walter Benjamin was on the run from the Nazis and lived in exile in Paris. Combining archival footage, contemporary scenes, animated sequences, and puppetry, this 13-chapter composite essay takes us back to that period in Benjamin’s life, reflecting on the many facets of his work, his world, and his personality, retelling the story of a man whose life resonates powerfully today.

A word from Tënk

He claimed Baudelaire, Brecht and Proust—but also Marx and Kabbalah—as influences on his work. His free-ranging thinking combines Jewish theology and Marxist materialism. He reflected on the origins of consumerist societies, the mirage of progress, the excesses of technocracy, the fragmentation of time in our understanding of History, on colonialism and barbarity. His friends included Hannah Arendt, Gershom Scholem, Theodor W. Adorno and Bertold Brecht. He translated works of Proust and Baudelaire and made profound contributions to literary and aesthetic theory. Walter Benjamin is a man who defies categorization, a philosopher whose thinking started with a spark, with leaps of meaning, cometic fragments that illuminated the darkness within his mind to light brand new passageways. This film by Carlos Ferrand is a rare, successful foray into the universe of raw thought.


We wander from city to city, from fragments to quotes, from thoughts to demonstrations. Different formats overtake one another, and the tone is as elusive as the film’s protagonist: we swing from the tragedies of the time period to the inveterate playfulness of creation—and of Benjamin’s free thinking—from the profound weight of each elucidation to its absolute lightness. This is a film to watch and rewatch, a stroll that invites you to dream big, a film to free you from isolation and dazzle you. Our pupils dilated, our minds tousled, we walk away from 13, A Ludorama About Walter Benjamin with one overwhelming desire: to plunge into Benjamin’s work with a few lingering images in the backs of our minds: a direct gaze, a slow-motion image, an animated whale, a rainy Moscow street.




Naomie Décarie-Daigneault
Tënk's Artistic Director



Item 1 of 4

Item 1 of 4