Wittgenstein Abecedarium is an experimental documentary film about the life and philosophy of the Austrian philosopher, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and his impact on art and culture.
It premiered at Storey's Field Center in Cambridge, UK on June 30th, 2022, and was shown again at Wolfson Hall, Churchill College, Cambridge University on March 7th, 2023.
"Wittgenstein Abecedarium is a magnificent 'experimental documentary' by the American film maker Jeffrey Hall. It explores the life and cultural resonances of Ludwig Wittgenstein. But this is far from a cradle-to-grave narrative. The alphabet plays a more dominant part than a timeline. The film exhibits the multiple cultural forms which engagement with the philosopher has produced, from rock bands playing his words, through TV talking-heads, to footage of Joan Bevan recounting Wittgenstein's last days at her Storey's Way home. Jeff spent eighteen months filming in Cambridge, mainly at the Ascension Burial Ground on Huntingdon Road, where the philosopher is the most visited 'resident'. Alphabets in turn led Jeff to being entranced by the exquisite and poignant lettering on the hundreds of gravestones at the Burial Ground. The film morphs into a multi-dimensional visual celebration of the site of Wittgenstein's last resting place."
-- Mark Goldie
"I have just been to see the film Wittgenstein Abecedarium by Jeffrey Hall. It is a montage of words found on stones in the burial ground where Wittgenstein lies and arranged in alphabetical sequences, clips from films that include westerns, musicals, the Third Man, and 2001 along with allusions to surrealist cinema at the start, quotations (mostly from the Tractatus), comments by people visiting the grave, snippets from philosophers, including Anthony Quinton talking to Bryan Magee - and scenic shots. There are also ramblings from Deleuze over which we shall in silence pass.
The film has a coherence which one does not grasp until at least 30 minutes in. It is worth one's time and concentration."
- Richard Baron