Chomp Some Chomsky

A documentary-like dazzler, Michel Gondry’s Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy? is another edifying treasure hunt into the depths of a living mind. Gondry meets with linguist/philosopher/activist Noam Chomsky in his MIT office, where they launch into a wide-ranging conversation that starts with Chomsky’s childhood, crashes into the origins of modern science and then considers at length the way our brains process and develop language. Imagine a doozy of an office-hours audience with the most brilliant professor you never had, set inside a kaleidoscopic light board of a shared mind-space, where everything that professor says is illustrated in pulsing, wheeling, mercurial cartoons. It’s a mad thrill, like witnessing a great evolutionary leap of the margin notes you may have doodled in class. The high points concern Chomsky’s field-making insight: Children’s ability to generate and comprehend unique bursts of language suggests that we must be born with the rules and structures of language already imprinted on our minds. The Texas Theatre (231 W. Jefferson Blvd.) screens Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy? at 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday, with additional shows at 6:30 p.m. Saturday and 8 p.m. Sunday. Visit thetexastheatre.com. Tickets are $9.
Thu., Dec. 26, 9 p.m.; Fri., Dec. 27, 9 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 28, 6:30 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 29, 8 p.m., 2013
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Alan Scherstuhl is film editor and writer at Voice Media Group. VMG publications include Denver Westword, Miami New Times, Phoenix New Times, Dallas Observer, Houston Press and New Times Broward-Palm Beach.
Contact: Alan Scherstuhl