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Rousseau, or On Education  cover photo

Rousseau, or On Education 2012

Not Recommended

Distributed by EducationalFilms.NET
Produced by Anya Zinoveva
Directed by Anya Zinoveva
DVD , color, 88 min.

Sr. High - General Adult
Children, Democracy, Early Childhood Education, Educational Films, Environmentalism, European History, Human Development, Humanities, Philosophy, Politics, Teaching

Date Entered: 06/06/2014

Reviewed by Linda Frederiksen, Washington State University, Vancouver, WA

Throughout his career, eighteenth century Swiss philosopher and writer Jean-Jacques Rousseau published numerous controversial treatises on the issues of the day. His influential Social Contract, Discourse on the Origin and Basis of Inequality among Men, Confessions, and Dialogues were far ahead of their time. In Emile, or On Education, published in 1762, Rousseau considers the individual and society and need for massive political and educational reform. According to the filmmaker, the impact of his writings on contemporary French, European and American culture and thought was and continues to be widely felt.

The intent of this low-budget educational film is to place Rousseau in the context of his time as well as our time, broadly explaining his theories while attempting to relate them to 21st century problems. In this effort, the filmmaker is only partially successful. Despite a clear earnestness in purpose, the participation of several academics and scholars who appear to share the same enthusiasm for the topic, original animation, dramatic re-enactments and archival media, the production is one that has tried to do too much with too little. The result is a confused and confusing scattershot that while somewhat explanatory is neither entertaining nor insightful. Not recommended.