Esperanto: the one who hopes (documentary video)

I don't know how I could have forgotten to report on this before. A year ago I participated in a documentary on Esperanto done as a high school project. The student sent me a copy of her finished documentary, and eventually put it up on YouTube. Here is Israt Pasha's 32-minute documentary on Esperanto, "Esperanto: One Who Hopes", "starring" Anders Paulli Bertelsen, Neil Blonstein, Ralph Dumain, Ferdinand Cesarano, Renata Ventura.

I was a panelist at a symposium on L.L. Zamenhof at the UN on December 15, 2010, the lion's share of reportage of which was devoted to George Soros' surprise appearance. (You will see me and other participants in videos and photos.) Israt approached me afterward and asked me to participate in her documentary. I made a video of my responses to her queries some months later, when I was still recovering from a month-long illness.

In this documentary there are graphics, fragments of other videos, photos, voiceovers, and interspersed fragments of the various video interviews, and in some cases, voiceovers from those interviews. There are explanations of the language, personal experiences with it, various uses of the language (e.g. the news magazine Monato), the question of opposition to Esperanto, and various opinions on the role of Esperanto in the world, now and in the future. There is some "finvenkismo" (doctrine of the "final victory" of Esperanto as an international auxiliary language) in it, along with my refutation of same. The question of preservation of natural languages is addressed, with my dissenting opinion on the matter. My positive comments on the language and movement also appear at the beginning and end.

My translation of William Blake's "I feared the fury of the wind" is used as a voiceover at the end, coupled with a series of Esperanto & Zamenhof-related photos: I find this disconcerting because the harsh social criticism of Blake's poem has nothing to do with the Esperanto movement and does not match the manifestly positive images of Esperantists and Zamenhof.

There are other aspects of the documentary I find disjointed, partly because of the way fragments of the interviewees' videos are spliced together and the various themes of the documentary are developed. Anything else I would criticize would be the opinions of some of the Esperantists. Personal experiences and facts are inherently more convincing than half-baked propaganda (if not in the world at large, certainly in the case of Esperanto). Nitpicking aside, this high school student did an impressive job, with decent production values, and I applaud her effort.

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