Herbert's Hippopotamus

1996, 69:32 minutes, colour, English

Herbert's Hippopotamus is a 69 minute video exploring the turbulent life of German born philosopher Herbert Marcuse. I focuses on the years of 1966-1979 which he spent in San Diego, California.
Although internationally known as the "Philosopher of the New Left", and a visionary force during the 60's student movement worldwide, Herbert Marcuse also p;layed a significant role in the intellectual and political community of San Diego. Interviews with Angela Davis, Fredric Jameson, Reinhard Lettaw, Herbert Schiller, and others explore Marcuse's critical writings and the public reactions to his presence at the University of California. Rarely seen archival footage shows incidents such as the pressure of former Governor Ronald Reagan to retire him, the attempt of the American Legion to buy his University contract and expel him from the city, former vice president Spiro Agnew accusing Marcuse of poisoning the youth and the numerous death threats made on him.
Herbert's Hippopotamus is the videomaker's personal search for Herbert Marcuse. Using a blend of archival news footage, staged imagery, interviews and a self-reflexive voice-over, the search is not only for the life of Herbert Marcuse, but also for the history of student protests and social activism today.

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