VMU to Host European Premiere of Film About Zygmunt Bauman

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On February 23, Thursday, 2 p.m., Vytautas Magnus University (Small Hall, S. Daukanto Str. 28, 2nd floor) will host the European premiere of The Trouble With Being Human These Days, a documentary about the renowned sociologist, VMU Honorary Doctor Prof. Zygmunt Bauman. After the first-ever showing of the film in the Old Continent, a discussion will be held by its director Bartek Dziadosz and producer Grzegorz Lepiarz. Prof. Leonidas Donskis MEP will serve as its moderator.

According to Leonidas Donskis, this movie not only discusses Zygmunt Bauman’s activities, but also encompasses wider topics which are highly relevant in the modern world. “This is a movie about our time, its forms of unease and hope, the modern tensions and insecurity – everything Bauman has analyzed in an ingeniously simple and profound manner in his books. His own life and personality become a launch pad, an outlook and an opportunity to use the documentary cinema language to speak about the world we live in in a refreshing and compelling way. It is no coincidence that many parts of the movie are aimed at young people, their state of mind and feelings, their protests, dissent against politicians and the official public opinion”, the philosopher highlighted the film’s aspects which should resonate quite strongly with students in particular.

Authors of The Trouble With Being Human These Days, Bartek Dziadosz and Grzegorz Lepiarz, say that their film is “a bold attempt at making a provocative yet informed diagnosis of the modern uncertainty”. They claim that it looks for possible parallels between Zygmunt Bauman’s personal life and the sociological concepts he has created, taking into account the tumultuous history of the entire Old Continent. The film has captured the sociologist’s academic trips to Lithuania, Spain, Austria, Slovakia, Germany and Poland. Aside from excerpts of lectures, discussions and award ceremonies, the authors have also shot “informal interviews and very personal reflections filmed during walks in the stunning European locations”. The viewers will have the opportunity to meet Zygmunt Bauman’s friends, colleagues and relatives. Other prominent figures from the fields of sociology, politics and philosophy also appear in the film, providing their insights: George Ritzer, Neal Lawson, Andrew Simms, Cezary Wodzinski, Albert-László Barabási, etc.

“It is an attempt to discuss the works of the VMU Honorary Doctor and the greatest sociologist of our time by solving the secret of his popularity – why is Zygmunt Bauman so important for the young people, the students, researchers and the world of art? Is it due to his enigmatic yet open and warm personality? His wonderfully simple yet at the same time profound and sensitive works? Is it because he touches upon the aching nerve for all of us who are trying to grasp why we have less and less understanding of the surrounding reality, and ourselves in it? “, Prof. Leonidas Donskis named some of the questions tackled in the film.

Zygmunt Bauman is an exceptionally prolific researcher of political science, sociology, philosophy, ethics, arts and history who has enriched the global academic landscape with more than two decades worth of insights on modernity, social thought, public sphere and the consequences of globalisation on the humankind. He gained prominence after publishing Modernity and the Holocaust in 1989, which earned him the European Amalfi Prize for Sociology and Social Sciences.

In 2007 the professor was awarded Honorary Doctorate at Vytautas Magnus University. Since the opening of the university in 1922 this respectable title has been received by 64 people, most of them well-known scientists, public figures and intellectuals, such as Jonas Mekas, Valdas Adamkus, Adam Michnik, Tomas Venclova, Birutė Galdikas, Waldemar Rezmer, Miroslav Hroch, Czeslaw Milosz, Marija Gimbutienė, Alfred Erich Senn, etc.

Prof. Zygmunt Bauman visited VMU in 2010 and read a very well-received lecture, "The Natural History of Evil". Last year the translated Lithuanian edition of the sociologist’s Consuming Life (Vartojamas Gyvenimas) was presented at the university.

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