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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 by Churchill College, Cambridge University on March 7th, 2023. It will be shown at the 45th International Wittgenstein Symposium near Vienna in 2024.

"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 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, Churchill College,Cambridge University

"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, quotations, comments by people visiting the grave, snippets from philosophers, and scenic shots. 

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, philosopher

" Thank you for making your beautiful film, Wittgenstein Abecedarium! I found it captivating. I had studied some philosophy, but felt that much of it was  beyond my comprehension. This film helped me to sense that I could understand a relationship between what I had thought were disparate disciplines. I like how the film's pacing slows down time, how it seems to track Ludwig's life and philosophy in a meditative way. And also brings in humor and spectacle and the role of story, as conveyed in other films. And of course the musical performances inspired by his writings. The landscape sweeps, both in the cemetery and elsewhere, convey a sense of "deep time".

- Virginia Small, poet, writer, and editor.

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