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Throughout the film, Galileo represents symmetry and logical clarity, as is emphasized by the straight geometrical barrenness of his envi- ronment. When the scientist appears, the camera follows him with slow, intense and deep movements, alluding at the very nature of the clash between him and the others.
Furthermore, the contrast between Bruno and Galileo sheds an additional light on the meaning attributed to figure of Galileo, if we consider the intentions of the filmmaker herself: For Galileo he is perhaps the first secular rebel theology is one thing and science another.
The contrast between the characters of Bruno the visionary and Galileo the scientist dramatizes the first part of the film and allowsCavani to reiterate her political stance.
Cavani does not focus on such a dialectic conflict, certainly on purpose, because her film is—in her open intentions, testi- fied by numerous statements—a contemporary work where factual history and mythology should blend harmoniously.
Brecht and Losey, however, rather than being in a master-pupil relationship, shared the same inspirations and sources in their vision of a revolutionary theatre: Piscator and Meyerhold above all, as observed by Colin Gardner: This reading is not completely accurate. The key theoretical figures here are Vsevolod Meyerhold and nikolai Pavlovic okhlopkov.
Along with Erwin Piscator, these are the same influences that Brecht also acknowl- edged, suggesting that he and Losey were simultaneously tapping into identical sources, laying a common foundation for their own col- laboration twelve years later. The film, due to several and complex circumstances, was made much later almost three decades and Losey is both a different man and a different director, whose experiences both on stage and on the set have radically changed his life: The original play was produced in Hollywood at the dawn of the nuclear age under the dark cloud of HUAC [Home Unamerican Activities Committee], and the Cold War, and was directed by a 38 year-old American veteran of the Stalinist old Left with little or nofilm experience.
Significantly, all these three films deal with characters forced to renounce or suppress their creative and impulsive instincts while detained under a restric- tive and claustrophobic form of house arrest. I also had to find an equivalent cinema style to his theatrical style which I did perhaps successfully by having Galileo sometimes talk directly to the camera in very big close-ups which means talking directly to the audience.
Joseph Losey seems very much at ease with his representation of the scientist as the epitome of an entire age.
In both films, therefore, the conflict between Galileo and the Church as the symbol of the Authority is the narrative basis for the unfolding of the plot, filling it with a strong ethical connotation. The extra-textual discourse prevails, mainly because it is transformed into a discourse on contemporaneity. The gaze of Liliana Cavani is—no doubt—a critical one, but it is still anchored to a historical snapshot: The result, even today, is a work both thought-provoking and emotionally intense.
In both cases, however, there remains very little of the historical Galileo, sacrificed in the name of a much more poignant reference to the ethical and political issues of the s. It has been observed that the representation of Galileo on the silver screen has been influenced by the writings addressed to non-spe- cialists rather than by the large number of scholarly works on the Italian scientist.
During the historical epochs in which they worked, both Cavani and Losey viewed Galileo retrospectively, attributing new meanings to him and drawing deep and significant analogies to their contempo- rary cultures. Ideology, therefore, not history, seems to have been the primary inspiration for those film directors, and thanks to the enormous power of communication of film they were able to present their images of Galileo to the public at large.
It is in this perspective that I want to conclude by making reference to another text, a written one, not a film, but a short story that tells us the story of another Italian scientist, whose commit- ment and awareness is astonishingly close to the issues raised by Brecht in his Life of Galileo.
Ettore Majorana was a mathematician and physicist, who collabo- ated with Fermi, Segre and others in the s Italy. Majorana allegedly died during a boat trip between Palermo and naples on March 27, and his body was never found. Leonardo Sciascia, a Sicilian writer and intellectual wrote La scomparsa di Majorana in , where he puts forth the hypothesis that Majorana did not commit suicide the obvious offi- cial version of the incident , but retired in a convent.
Sciascia tries to imagine a reason for his disguising a disappearance as a suicide. I had written it [The Disappearance of Majorana] out of the memories I had about his disappearance, and on the basis of documents I had obtained from Prof. It all came after I had heard a physicist talking with satisfaction—and even with enthusiasm—about his own contribution to the making of the bombs that had destroyed Hiroshima and nagasaki. That is, out of indignation: He met Heisenberg, the sci- entist who refused to proceed with his research on the atomic fission, during one trip in Germany: Sciascia imagines that perhaps that encounter convinced him of the absurdity and the extreme danger of such research.
The atom bomb is, both as a technical and as a social phenomenon, the classical end-product of his contribution to science and his failure to society. Sciascia expresses his humanism, meant as profound love for human beings, with a consideration that could be the end of this paper dedicated to Galileo and the cinematic works we have discussed briefly, a consideration dedicated to those few who did not barter the life of human beings for an abstract desire to know.
Perhaps he wanted to consider providential such blindness, if it resulted in Hitler and Mussolini not having the atomic bomb. It could not be considered so providential, however—and all providential events are like this— by the people living in Hiroshima and nagasaki.
Vita di Galileo Galilei. Milano: Feltrinelli, Brecht, Bertolt. The Life of Galileo. London: Methuen, Brunetta, Gianpiero. Guida alla storia del cinema italiano. Torino: Einaudi, Conversations with Losey. London-new York: Methuen, The Crime of Galileo. Drake, Stillman.
Galileo at Work: His Scientific Biography. Gardner, Colin. Joseph Losey. Manchester-new York: Manchester UP, Geymonat, Ludovico. Galileo Galilei. Koestler, Arthur. Marrone, Gaetana. Princeton: the Princeton UP, Physics in Perspective. Sciascia, Leonardo. A cura di Claude Ambroise. Volume secondo. Milano: Bompiani, Volume terzo. Films: Galileo Galilei. He was threatened by the Inquisition, and he backed down.
This is perhaps the central issue in Brecht's play. Brecht does not presents Galileo as a particularly admirable human being. Even as a scientist, he is by no means above reproach: Feyerabend, in Against Method , takes pleasure in making him look like a bungler and near-charlatan, and annoyed many scientists by witnessing against him when the Vatican reopened the case in the late 20th century. But despite all this, Galileo has become one of the most respected people in the history of science, and his influence on its subsequent development is incalculable.
In Brecht's version of the story, Galileo doesn't know why he behaves the way he does. His student, learning of the important work on dynamics that he has completed during the last years of his life, wants him to say that he carried out a clever strategic retreat, but Galileo is having none of it.
There was no plan; he was just afraid of being tortured. He sounds bitter and sincere. I would be interested to see Dennett's take: I'm still not sure why that would be, but thinking about this play may help me understand it better. Thank you, Herr Brecht. Del Seicento e del Novecento. E allora parto dai fatti.
Accostamento strano, teatro e scienza? Forse no. Se pensiamo che l'opera fu concepita e scritta da un dichiarato comunista agli albori dell'era atomica, nel periodo tra la tragedia di Hiroshima e Nagasaki ed il rifiuto degli USA ad interrompere gli esperimenti sulla bomba H quando lo fate voi va bene, vero? E peraltro Bertolt Brecht sapeva perfettamente quel che diceva.
Oltre che di scienza e religione, occorre parlare anche di scienza e potere. Nonostante il tutto sia caratterizzato da un feroce idealismo e come avrebbe potuto essere altrimenti, in un libro scritto da un comunista negli anni cinquanta?
Per contro, gli ecclesiastici che via via incontra nella sua personale via crucis non sono certo quell'archetipo di violenza ed ottuso conservatorismo che ci si potrebbe aspettare, anzi spesso si tratta di scienziati ecclesiastici che sono perfettamente in grado di capire e di stimare il valore della nuova scienza.
Se "Vita di Galileo" fosse stato un saggio, sarebbe stato criticabile. Non mi risulta che Galileo abbia mai dubitato dell'esistenza di Dio, ammesso e non concesso che un'idea del genere fosse stata concepibile per un pensatore del diciassettesimo secolo.
View all 7 comments. Die If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review. La lettura del testo, scorrevole e apparentemente semplice, ha il merito di rievocare la nota vicenda umana dello scienziato senza sovraccaricarlo di inutili ideologismi, senza fare di lui un eroe, aprendo al contempo infiniti dilemmi.
Eppure la dicotomia fede e dubbio che alimenta la scienza pare non toccarlo, laddove la scienza smentisce i dogmi, lui non gioisce ma appura la supremazia della ragione senza per questo farsi tronfio di alcuna vittoria, anche quando il Collegio romano, istituto pontificio di ricerche scientifiche, conferma le sue scoperte. View all 3 comments.
Feb 17, Jonfaith rated it it was amazing Shelves: Young man, I do not eat my cheese absentmindedly. Despite my perforated memory, I can still cling to triumph, most of which are the achievements of others but alas I can still appreciate.
I thought about Brecht at the end of his life this morning while enjoying this masterful narrative. Did he regard himself as recanted? Did his petty tyranny of the women in his life strike him as abominable?
Galileo as depicted by Brecht is too pragmatic to be disarmed by such pondering. He is at ease groveling Young man, I do not eat my cheese absentmindedly. He is at ease groveling for appointments as he understands the alternative. Aside from the necessity of obsequiousness he recognizes the need of discretion and the effects of The Age of Reason not only on the established order but on human existential orientation.
What of my own missteps and absences? As a reader I blunder about with wistful grasps at concepts and reverie. Muddled by self deprecation, labor and lager—somehow I persevere. I needed this play today. Apr 14, Mira Jundi rated it it was amazing. As I finished reading this masterpiece of Brecht, I sat thinking about how to go through everything in this play in one review, it's impossible!
This play is absolutely one of the best literary works I've read and will ever read. I couldn't find anything more appropriate to say about it than Brecht's own words from the play itself.
But he who knows it and calls it a lie, is As I finished reading this masterpiece of Brecht, I sat thinking about how to go through everything in this play in one review, it's impossible! But he who knows it and calls it a lie, is a criminal. Mai Sehr geehrter Herr Brecht: Auch gibt Ihre Darstellung einen tiefen Einblick in die Problemstellung, wie sie Galilei vorlagen und in die Einstellung der vorgalileischen Wissenschaft zur Erfahrung.
Sie haben es verstanden, eine 4. Sie haben es verstanden, einen dramatischen Rahmen zu schaffen, der ungemein fesselnd ist und uns auch durch die starken Beziehungen zu den politischen Problemen der Gegenwart besonders interessieren muss. Dear Mr. Brecht, You have given me enormous pleasure with your "Galileo". Not only do you seem to me to have profoundly grasped the personality of Galileo, but also the significance of his appearance in the development of the history of ideas, and thus in history as such.
Your play also provides deep insight into the formulation of the problem, as it appeared to Galileo, and of the attitude of pre-Galilean science to experience. You have succeeded in creating a dramatic structure which is extraordinarily captivating and which - given the great relevance to present political issues - will be of especially great interest.
Hopefully our misguided contemporaries will appreciate what you have so outstandingly presented. Kind regards, yours, Albert Einstein Inwiefern beeinflusst Wissenschaft die christliche Religion? Und, falls nicht, etwa Ethik? Jul 29, Aniruddha rated it it was amazing.
There are many reasons why I chose to write about this in my common application to American colleges. This book has had a phenomenal influence on me.
I have loved and enjoyed every part of this play. Life of Galileo is not merely another book about the enraging conflict between science and its mindless counterpart religion, but also about society and in the end life itself.
People oft forget that Bertolt Brecht was a Marxist intellectual and his plays not only reflect that but also impersonate hi There are many reasons why I chose to write about this in my common application to American colleges.
People oft forget that Bertolt Brecht was a Marxist intellectual and his plays not only reflect that but also impersonate his Marxist leanings. It was not Das Kapital that made me a Marxist but rather this play.
This play has a bigger theme than just the inquisition of Galileo by the Church- it talks about powers, class struggles, the role of science in society and much more. It is a book about revolutions-not just in science but in society.
This book will not appeal to many and I will not recommend it to any reader who wants a controversy-free book. I will not suggest this book to any of my friends who have presuppositions that will hinder their understanding of this book. If you have a scientific bent of mind, if you love to question and love to be questioned.
If you hate tradition and don't play chess with pawns but are Bohemian and adventurous to move forward to attack with your best forces, then is your BIBLE. Put simply, if you love freedom, you will love this book. Its 5 out of 5, or even 6 out of 5, if you are like me, an open-minded individual who loves science and freedom! Galileo per fare ricerca chiede che non lo si faccia morire di fame tagli alla ricerca: Galileo era umano, umanissimo, gran mangiatore, 1.
D'altronde l'abiura gli permise di continuare in bona pace per lui e per noi. L'Italica furbizia! Tuttavia, anche come pura lettura, "Vita di Galileo" mi ha coinvolto molto, emozionandomi in particolare nell'atto dell'abiura e quasi commuovendomi nel finale. Galileo che cinicamente sacrifica le nozze della figlia: Ma il finale l'ho trovato poetico, in un certo senso. Life of Galileo , by Bertolt Brecht, is a lively and fascinating work about science and moral responsibility. Written less like a play and more in the vein of Socratic dialogue, Brecht offers a concise fictionalised account of the rise and fall of Galileo Galilei.
What makes this play truly beautiful is that is does not try to affirm science as filled with wonder and potential, but instead employs a critical negativity to make readers re-evaluate scientific research and its potentially detrimenta Life of Galileo , by Bertolt Brecht, is a lively and fascinating work about science and moral responsibility.
What makes this play truly beautiful is that is does not try to affirm science as filled with wonder and potential, but instead employs a critical negativity to make readers re-evaluate scientific research and its potentially detrimental consequences, as well as the moral responsibility scientists have to their society and their planet.
Enduringly relevant and thoroughly enjoyable, this play should be standard reading for students of all disciplines during their intellectual development. Brecht's primary goal is to reinforce an important lesson: Scientists must take moral responsibility for what they create. Scientific research, in Brecht's time as in ours, tended to be conducted for the sake of knowledge rather than for any use of meaningful contribution to society. Worse still, in Brecht's view, scientific research is funded by State institutions and subordinated to the ruling class in both the economy and military.
Content enough to take funding and prove their hypotheses, scientists take no heed of the potential catastrophe they can unleash with their researches.
This message is as important now as it was in Brecht's age. Whilst the playwright lived in the shadow of nuclear annihilation, wrought by the Manhattan Project, we too live in the shadow of a great cataclysm: For the present era, the desperate search for meaning and for a solution to the problem means the moral tale in this play touches close to home. So too does the subordination of science to the ruling capitalist classes.
Every day new consumer products, often running on fossil fuel or else consuming electricity and thus reproducing the need for oil burning, are released on to the market. Profits soar, investors get rich and capital expands across the globe - concentrated inexorably in the hands of a small, plutocratic elite. Similarly, the research and solutions for global warming remain broadly neglected for the sake of reproducing the capitalist economy.
All the while, scientists in the high castle of the university continue to enable these conditions, more concerned with producing knowledge and testing theories than with the practical consequences for society and the planet. For Brecht, this would be unacceptable. For us, this means Galileo remains incredibly important and touches a nerve close to home.
An important element of this play is the way the viewer and reader understand the characters. The reader of the text is not supposed to connect with any character, and Brecht is careful to alienate his characters from his readers.
Rather, he wants the reader to be pulled 'out of a passive and unconscious state of mind and into a heightened condition of awareness that leads to an alternative way of thinking.
The characters are all reprehensible in their own way, Galileo especially. When a reader sees Galileo saying that he 'abjure[s] what I have taught I foreswear, detest and curse, with sincere heart and unfeigned faith, all these errors and heresies,' they are filled with disgust and moral outrage.
What Galileo has done is the most immoral act he could have committed. Not even his excuse that he was 'afraid of physical pain' engenders sympathy. Instead, it makes it infinitely worse; Galileo did not think that Truth was worth the stake, and instead gave in to the petty prejudices of the body. The reader loathes him because of what he purported to be, and hates him even more for what he turned out to be: This human element is important for Brecht's depiction of Galileo.
He does not want a reader to mislead by the ideal notion of the scientist. Galileo is not a soul functioning solely on reason, driven by the ideal of Truth and willing to give anything and everything for it. Despite his claims that he believes 'in Human Reason' wholeheartedly, Galileo is presented as a servant to his stomach and to his body.
Brecht manages this depiction with excellent subtlety, a particularly malicious depiction coming in when Galileo lies about his researches into the telescope - he found out that morning it was mass produced in a foreign land - to fool his benefactors into giving him a pay rise.
Here Galileo thinks only for his material needs, willing to lie and obscure Truth for his own selfish ends. This reaches fruition later, when Ludivico remarks that Galileo 'will always be the slave of [his] passions. In Galileo this is profoundly the case. He is not pure reason and intelligence functioning with the aim of discovering Truth.