Wittgenstein Abecedarium is a magnificent ‘experimental documentary’ by the American film maker Jeffrey Hall. It explores the life and cultural resonances of Ludwig Wittgenstein. But this is far from a cradle-to-grave narrative. The alphabet plays a more dominant part than a timeline. The film exhibits the multiple cultural forms which engagement with the philosopher has produced, from rock bands playing his words, through TV talking-heads, to footage of Joan Bevan recounting Wittgenstein’s last days at her Storey’s Way home. Jeff spent eighteen months filming in Cambridge, mainly at the Ascension Parish Burial Ground on Huntingdon Road, where the philosopher is the most visited ‘resident’. Alphabets in turn led Jeff to being entranced by the exquisite and poignant lettering on the hundreds of gravestones at the Burial Ground. The film morphs into a multi-dimensional visual celebration of the site of Wittgenstein’s last resting place.

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