I AM (NOT) A MONSTER (2019)
London Film Festival, shortlist for the Grierson Award- Best International Documentary competition
Dedicated project website: iamnotamonster.world
Watch on Vimeo on Demand
In this impossible journey searching for the origins of knowledge, discover how our thinking and actions can render monsters.
A most urgent film unravelling some of the reasons why Trump, Le Pen and others have captured people’s imaginations by reviving past ideologies.
Featuring Noam Chomsky, Nadya Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot, Arjun Appadurai, Richard J. Bernstein, Leon Botstein, Hiroshi Ishiguro, Nobumichi Tosa of Maywa Denki, living national treasure: Kanjuro Kiritake II, Hisa Uzawa and Takayuki Takahashi and more contributors; with a special appearance by Lucy, our ancestor; Hannah Arendt’s grave; monsters; the Rosetta Stone; a hip hop performer Shinto priest; a liquid economic machine and much more…
I am (not) a monster is a multi-platform project (feature-length film, short films, events, musical record, and exhibition) demonstrating the state of ideologies- their origins, formulation and power structures- in contemporary society. It investigates the means by which knowledge is interwoven with the idea of cultural heritage while current development in AI suggests a global notion of ‘collectiveness’.
‘To act is to begin something new’ said Hannah Arendt, one of the greatest thinkers of all time who coined the concept of the ‘banality of evil’.
‘I am (not) a monster’ investigates the act of thinking in the twenty-first century as well as fears associated with it. An original and unapologetic performance on political theorist Hannah Arendt (1906-1975), whose book The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951) and essays such as Truth and Politics (1967) are introduced as ‘urgently’ relevant to our times – with a recent spike of interest in her work, now translated into dozens of languages.
Interviewing Hannah Arendt’s former students and key philosophers and activists, ‘designer of experiences’ and alternative educator Nelly Ben Hayoun takes Hannah Arendt on a world tour in 16 cities; an impossible pursuit through four continents – looking for the origins, mechanics and power dynamics behind knowledge. Trained by Noh theatre and Kabuki experts in Japan, with puppets in hand, Ben Hayoun is questioning the ownership and plurality of our thoughts, and the means by which freedom of learning and innovative educative federations can exist in contemporary times. She is hoping to return from her travels in Japan, Ethiopia, California, Arizona, New York State, United Kingdom, Italy, France and Germany with the source of knowledge in her suitcase so that she can share it with her students, down below, in the university she founded, the University of the Underground.
It features some of the most interesting minds of our times: political activist Noam Chomsky, Pussy Riot’s Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Hannah Arendt’s students: Arjun Appadurai, Leon Botstein and Richard Bernstein, nonsense artist Novbumichi Tosa of Maywa Denki, robot maker Hiroshi Ishiguro, Japanese Living National Treasures: Bunraku puppeteer – Kanjuro Kiritake II, kimono master – Takayuki Takahashi, Noh Theatre master – Hisa Uzawa, Lord Mayor of Sheffield Magid Magid, cyborg artist Neil Harbisson and many more – students, alternative schools and brilliant thinkers.