“A day in the life of Thanos Lipowatz”: A documentary by Panayotis Kravvaris (2013)

“A day in the life of Thanos Lipowatz” is going to be screened on Tuesday, March the 19th at 17.30 at Tonia Marketaki hall and on Thursday, March the 21st again at Tonia Marketaki hall, during the 15th Thessaloniki International Documentary festival.

Produced, scripted and directed by Panayotis Kravvaris, cinematography by Wiktor Roch Dobraczynski and Panayotis Kravvaris, edited by Nikos Gavalas, music by Alexis Bayas, sound recording by Spyros Tsitsis, sound engineering and mixing by Panos Angelothanassis

Facebook: A day in the Life of Thanos Lipowatz

Who is Thanos Lipowatz? According to the French philosopher Alain Juranville, he is an important Greek intellectual with independent thinking, who does not belong to any school. According to the Berliner painter Manfred Schling, Lipowatz’s active participation in the German student movement of 66-69 with the leftists, makes him critical to the role played by the Left in the contemporary European political scene. The former chief-editor of the “Estia” publications Stavros Zouboulakis, observes Thanos as the latter discovers Christianity and introduces it in his work as a reference point for the citizen’s responsibility and rights, against the dominant nihilism. A member of the audience in one of his lectures considers him to be a conservative moralist, who is offensive to the Left and its social struggle. Another one, while shouting in an auditorium calls him anti-Greek, who corrupts the spirit of Orthodoxy. Nationalist, extreme-right papers denounce him for years due to his “treacherous” activity. Scarce appearances on tv, more articles in the newspapers.

Like Luther in front of the emperor in the 16th century, where he denounced the existing Christianity, facing the danger of being sent to the pyre, saying the famous line “here I stand, I can’t do otherwise”, Thanos Lipowatz is saying what he has to say about the modern Greek identity and mentality, with the crisis in the background. His European identity and the several levels of his thought, which remains consistent in his everyday routine, are reflected in how he spends one day:

He wakes up in Paris, invited by Alain Juranville, where in the 4 years between 78 and 82, he met Lacan and his students, and did psychoanalysis himself: Psychoanalysis is the basis of his thought, as only psychoanalysis “can give a satisfactory answer to why all the revolutions fail and lead to anarchy and dictatorship”. Narcissistic people detest psychoanalysis because it doubts the perfect edifice they have constructed.

He will continue his day in Berlin, where he lives 4 months a year, having lunch with Manfred Schling. The memories deriving from the places of the student movement become the basis of criticism made to the conservative character of contemporary Left, and to the unrestrained populism that formed the social groups in Greece in the last 40 years.

At dusk, Thanos closes his apartment door behind him to find himself in his house in Athens, where he is going to have coffee and listen to classical music by himself, before he meets Stavros Zouboulakis. “The mystical and outworldy nature of orthodoxy is translated in Greek mentality terms as “don’t bother, it doesn’t matter”, “nothing can change”. Which is a passive attitude towards reality, and a passive adjustment to it”.


Thanos Lipowatz

He was born in 1943 in Athens, where he finished Leontio High School in 1960. Since 1962, he initially studied physics in the Technical University of Western Berlin. Later (1968-73), studied Sociology, Economy and Philosophy in Berlin’s Free University, and in 1973 he was awarded a degree in Sociology. In the period of 1973-78, he was scientific assistant (lecturer) in the Sociology Institute of Berlin’s Free University. Simultaneously, he did postgraduate studies in Psychology. In 1978-82 he was researcher in sociological research programs in Paris and in 1979-81 a scientific assistant (lecturer) in the Psychoanalysis department in the University Paris VIII (Vincennes-Saint-Denis). In 1981, he presented his doctorate thesis in the Philosophy and Sociology department of Berlin’s Free university (DR. PHIL.). In 1982-87 he represented a professor in the Sociology department of Oldenburg University. Since 1984, he is a member of an interdisciplinary research team in the National Research Foundation of France (CNRS) on psychoanalysis. In 1986, he starts a lectureship in the Philosophy and Sociology department of Berlin’s Free University where he also teaches. Since October of 1987, he is an associate professor, and later professor, on the subject of Political Psychology of Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences.

Books: The Disavowal of the Political (1988), The Psychopathology of the Political (1990), Issues on Political Psychology (1991), Essay on Ideology. A Dialogue with Social Theory with Psychoanalysis (with N. Demertzis, 1994), Against the current: For a Society of Citizens (1995), Psychoanalysis, Philosophy, Political Culture. Intertwined Texts (1996), Democratic Discourse, Psychoanalysis, Monotheism (2001), Essay on gnosis and Gnosticism (2006), Envy and Resentment (with N. Demertzis, 2006), The Name of the Father and the discomfort in the Civilization (2007), The deceiving seduction and the corruptive violence of evil (2012).

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