Plato’s Cave as Kino: Owl’s Legacy Excerpt & Becoming Imperceptible

Сталкер over at Chris Marker:

The blog Found Objects notes the current availability of a clip from Chris Marker’s The Owl’s Legacy:

An extract from Chris Marker’s TV series on the culture of ancient Greece, The Owl’s Legacy, featuring contributions from Iannis Xenakis, George Steiner, Cornelius Castoriadis and Elia Kazan. Recently unearthed from obscurity as part of the Otolith Group’s room at Tate Britain for the Turner Prize. As the Otolith Group write in their accompanying artist book, this is exactly the sort of TV programme that simply wouldn’t stand a chance of being made today.

“It all began on a summer night in 1987. The idea for a television series based on Greek culture had just crystalized and we were facing a spectre which haunts the realm of the cultural documentary and that Chekhov defined for eternity: to say things that clever people already know and that morons will never know.”

The original title of the television series is L’Héritage de la chouette. Here are some production details reproduced from the Pacific Film Archive, which seems, along with the Otiolith Group, to be one of the few institutions to possess a copy:

‘Written by Chris Marker. Photographed by Emiko Omori, Peter Chapell, et al. Edited by Khadicha Bariha, Nedjma Scialom. With Iannis Xenakis, George Steiner, Elia Kazan, Theo Angelopoulos, Cornelius Castoriadis. (In English, and French, Georgian, Greek with English subtitles, Color, 3/4″ Video, projected, Cassettes courtesy Chris Marker with permission of Film International Television Production and La Sept).”

You can also consult our older post, “Inner Time of Television” and the full post of the PFA’s notes on The Owl’s Legacy.

One of the great reflections in 20th century philosophy on Plato’s cave and its myriad implications is Hans Blumenberg’s Höhlenausgänge [Exits from the Cave], which opens with an epigraph quoting a journal entry of Kafka’s: “Mein Leben ist das Zögern vor der Geburt.” [My life is the hesitation before birth]. Blumenberg, known for his work on metaphorology and myth but really an astounding polymath of many interests whose posthumous work continues to amaze (as it continues to go largely untranslated), produces in this work perhaps the most rigorous expedition into the many ramifications of the idea of the cave as it flows in and out of Plato’s Republic.