Directed by Mike Dibb • Documentary • 2004 • 114 minutes
Producer: D. D. Guttenplan; Interviewer: Charles Glass
Edward Said, University Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, was one of the most important literary critics of the late 20th century, and for many years the most prominent spokesperson for the Palestinian cause in the United States.
He was the author of ten books, among them Orientalism, a runner-up in criticism for the National Book Critics Circle Award; The World, the Text and the Critic;Blaming the Victims;Culture and Imperialism;Peace and Its Discontents: Essays on Palestine in the Middle East Peace Process;End of the Peace Process: Oslo and After; and, most recently, Power, Politics, and Culture.
Born into a Palestinian family in Jerusalem in 1935, in 1948 Said and his family were dispossessed and settled in Cairo. Educated in the United States, he lived in New York for many years. Long a member of the Palestine National Council, after resigning from the PNC in 1991, Said wrote critically about the post-Oslo peace process and the political failures of Yasser Arafat and the PLO.
Said was diagnosed with incurable leukemia in 1991, and struggled with the disease throughout the decade, while continuing to write and teach. Towards the end of his life, as the disease and chemotherapy treatments sapped his energy, he stopped giving interviews. However, less than a year before his death in September 2003, he made an exception and over the course of three days spoke at length with the filmmakers about his illness, his work, Palestine and politics, his life and education, and his continuing preoccupations.
EDWARD SAID: THE LAST INTERVIEW is the remarkable final testament of this passionately committed intellectual.