The Ister is a documentary film made in 2004 by David Barison and Daniel Ross, loosely referring to the works of Martin Heidegger, in particular to the lectures Hölderlins Hymne “Der Ister” (1942–1984), devoted to Hölderlin’s poem Der Ister. It is a record of the journey upstream Danube, towards its sources, and at the same time a documentation of the discussion on Heidegger, Hölderlin and philosophy. The film touches also on numerous other topics, such as time, poetry, technology, home, war, politics, myth, national socialism, the Holocaust, ancient Greek polis, Sophocles, Antigone, Agnes Bernauer, Edmund Husserl, the Battle of Vukovar in 1991 and NATO’s bombardment of Yugoslavia in 1999. The Ister features extensive interviews with French philosophers Bernard Steigler, Jean-Luc Nancy and Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe as well as German film director Hans-Jürgen Syberberg. The film premiered at the Rotterdam International Film Festival in 2004.
Daniel Ross obtained his doctorate from Monash University in 2002. He is the author of Violent Democracy (Cambridge University Press, 2004) and Psychopolitical Anaphylaxis: Steps Towards a Metacosmics (Open Humanities Press, 2021). He is also the co-director with David Barison of the feature documentary The Ister which premiered at the Rotterdam International Film Festival in 2004, and which won awards in Montreal and Marseille. Through that film, he met the French philosopher Bernard Stiegler, and has subsequently published eleven volumes of translation of Stiegler’s work, most recently The Age of Disruption: Technology and Madness in Computational Capitalism (Polity Press, 2019) and Nanjing Lectures 2016–2019 (Open Humanities Press, 2020), along with the collective volume by Stiegler and the Internation Collective entitled Bifurcate: ‘There Is No Alternative’ (Open Humanities Press, 2021).