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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Politics > Interview > Middle East > Out Of Place – Memories of Edward Said + Edward Said – The Last Interview (Icarus DVD Set)

Out Of Place – Memories of Edward Said + Edward Said – The Last Interview (Icarus DVD Set)


Picture: C     Sound: C     Extras: C     Features: B



Though you don’t hear much about him since the events of 9/11, in part because it was his choice, Edward Said (pronounced Sy-eed) was a famous author whose theories about world politics and support of Palestinians (he was a Palestinian, living there before the advent of Israel) led to a series of groundbreaking books on the subject that remain key classics in the study and understanding of what has happened before Israel, since the rise of militant Islam and long after his death in 2003, some of the most progressive and controversial pro-Palestinian works ever made.  Two documentaries on the subject: Out Of Place - Memories of Edward Said (2005) and Edward Said – The Last Interview (2004) are now available as a DVD set from Icarus.


His situation made him somewhat of a nomad, but by building a school of though of the part of his country that was lost (the percentage ever debatable) and to the West, he would be a dissident-by-default criticizing Western power (ala Noam Chomsky) and other variables for the rest of his life.  Even when you agree or disagree with him, his thoughts are a solid model of ways of thinking about the situations he covers in his works.  Place is a solid biographical work, while the Interview works as almost an autobiography and a sad coda to a life lost too soon; one that could have helped the world post-9/11 if he could have (or wanted to) deal with it, illness notwithstanding.


Six years and counting, what would he think of the world now, of the Obama election, of hopes for his near-utopian solution to the Israel/Palestinian conflict?  Place (via director Sato Makoto) shows us how nice the Israeli settlements are and how separate and unequal the Palestinian sections are, but never suggests other Arab countries are not funding Palestinian development despite having the money for rebuilding their own lands, money from oil and even in known cases to support Al Qaeda and The Taliban.  Otherwise, it is good work.


The 1.33 X 1 image on Place and letterboxed 1.78 X 1 image on the Interview are from low definition digital video sources and maybe a generation down.  We can see on Place that subtitles in another language have been blurred so English can be burned in over them.  Still, the footage is so key and unique that it is worth sitting through the flaws and this is a documentary, after all.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 sound on both productions are barley stereophonic and plagued with location audio issues, but you do get subtitling.  Just be careful of playback levels.  There are no extras on the DVDs, but the case includes a 16-page booklet on Said with essays and information about the man and these productions.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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