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<nettime-ann> RE: Documentary: “Atheism” 71 minutes, 2006; a documentary
juliansamuel on Tue, 24 Oct 2006 04:28:54 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime-ann> RE: Documentary: “Atheism” 71 minutes, 2006; a documentary by Julian Samuel

Dear Person at Nettime-ann:

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21 October 2006

RE: Documentary: “Atheism” 71 minutes, 2006; a documentary by Julian Samuel


         If interested please contact me for more information:

Julian Samuel, director
e-mail: juliansamuel {AT} videotron.ca


Montreal film-maker Julian Samuel’s “Atheism” confronts religion and its discontents by introducing the views of a physicist who refutes the Big Bang, and with it the possibility of a creation; a novelist who uses post-Newtonian concepts as a story-telling device; two experts on Islam; a Christian thinker from within the church; an atheist, originally from an Islamic country; and a philosopher who topples the world of miracles by subjecting them to the rational waters of logic upon which, it emerges, one can’t walk, despite surface tension.


Tariq Ali, author,
The Clash of Fundamentalisms

Fadi Hammoud,
Journalist and
Middle East specialist

Alison MacLeod, author,
The Wave Theory of Angels

Christine Overall,
Professor of Philosophy, Queen's University

Jean-Claude Pecker, astrophysicist
Collège de France and Académie des Sciences, Paris (retired)

Noomane Raboudi
Specialist on Islam

John Shelby Spong
former Episcopal
Bishop of Newark, NJ.


Reviews and commentary:

Atheism By Julian Samuel

a short response by Sylvat Aziz

This visual essay, comprising scholarly and accessible interviews, should prove to be universally provocative in the most positive sense. Comparisons between science, revealed and other religions, artistic values and histories place a premium on reason. Although the title/topic is exceptionally large and in its nature sociopolitically charged, in this case theism and atheism are discussed intelligently and expertly using language that avoids jargon. A most refreshing circumstance. One can find a sensitive clarity throughout, a sense of humour in the background, poignant and at times with a bite, that extenuates the fragility of complex systems of human thought discussed herein.

Although the video strays from strict documentary form, dogmas, beliefs, habits and so on are discussed without promulgating a particular dogma, belief, habit.

The more abstract visual references insinuated in the video; the use of stained glass windows, overlaid gestural calligraphy, references to religious icons and ritual practices, allusions to biological beginnings and other visual elements, are sometimes more successful than others but on the whole, these serve as a practical as well as symbolic matrix for the interviews, adding a relevant visual textural interest. The framing is direct and strong avoiding clutter, making content confident.

In the main the value of this essay lies in its humane, non- proselyitizing position and the thoughtful responses to questions concerning many facets of this very complex, essentially human set of ideas.


Le film "Atheism by Julian Samuel" interroge sur la question d’absence de Dieu dans la vie du monde. Le documentaire nous plonge rapidement dans les réflexions et positions émanant des divers interrogés. Cette démarche produit un remarquable tableau des éventualités. Les questions d’encrage religieux prennent place. Les croisades, les guerres, l’Inquisition et le mystère. Par opposition, elles sont suivies par d’intéressantes interrogations d’ordre scientifiques et philosophiques du réel.

Pour l’auteur une œuvre d’art doit questionner. C’est à cela que nous assistons. À travers des interviews, Julian Samuel sonde subtilement les sensibilités de ses interlocuteurs pour ensuite les confronter avec les siennes. Cette démarche très instructive sur les positions athées possibles a aussi pour but sa propre auto- reconduction. L'auteur tente une confrontation et essaye de réaffirmer, une fois encore, le choix qu'il avait fait à l’âge de ses 16 ans. Les loyaux de Julian Samuel, à voir impérativement. Ce film va vous saisir.

Robert Wiechec


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