Althusser, an Intellectual Adventure
Directed by Bruno Oliviero • Documentary • 2016 • 55 minutes
Documentary based partially on the only filmed interview given by Louis Althusser, a French philosopher who died in October 1990. The encounter took place in 1980 in Rome. Althusser had made a name for himself for his work on Marx. A few weeks after filming this interview, Louis Althusser strangled and killed his wife Helene in a fit of madness. Declared unfit to stand trial, he was committed to a psychiatric institution. He produced little academic work later on and faded from public attention. Althusser met Helene Legotien-Rytman in 1948, aged 30. She'd been in the resistance and was a member of the French Communist Party. They'd just excluded her for Trotskyism, but she nevertheless pushed Althusser to join. He was accepted, but was immediately asked to leave Helene. Althusser would leave neither Helene nor the French Communist Party.
His intellectual adventure really began in the late 1950's with the release of the Khrushchev report on the revelation of Stalinist crimes, denouncing the personality cult. It plunged activists and Communist sympathizers around the world into uncertainty and questioning...
Althusser went to work and soon invited a small group of his young students to collaborate on his theories, with the aim to safeguard the revolutionary capacity of Marxism and to give it a direction after the revelations of the Khrushchev report.