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Amartya Sen: A Life Reexamined
A Film by Suman Ghosh
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film stillAMARTYA SEN: A LIFE REEXAMINED is a documentary about the life and work of Amartya Sen, the 1998 Nobel Laureate in Economics, and the first Asian to win the coveted prize since it was first awarded in 1969. Not an adulatory exposition, the film is a trenchant examination of the assumptions behind Sen's Social Choice Theory, which won him the Nobel.

Master of Trinity College at Cambridge, and Professor of Population and International Health at Harvard, Sen's research has ranged over a number of fields in economics and philosophy. A prolific writer of influential books such as Poverty and Famines: An Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation (1981), Collective Choice and Social Welfare (1970), and Development as Freedom (1999), Sen is a fellow of both the British Academy and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

The film is framed by a conversation between Sen and Professor Kaushik Basu, Sen's student and fellow economist, and is interspersed with commentary from other Nobel Laureates, renowned scholars, and politicians who have a close understanding of the life and work of Amartya Sen. Some of those interviewed include Kenneth J. Arrow (Nobel Prize in Economics, 1972), who laid the foundation for the Social Choice Theory, Sugata Bose (Professor of History, Harvard University), Ashim Dasgupta (Finance Minister of West Bengal), Paul Samuelson (Nobel Prize in Economics, 1970), Timothy Scanlon (Professor of Philosophy, Harvard University), Manmohan Singh (Former Finance Minister of India, Congress Party), and his mother, Amita Sen.

Using extensive footage from Sen's birthplace in India, his college in Calcutta, and at his current abode at the Masters Lodge in Cambridge, the documentary also captures the on-the-ground reality of rural literacy programs, on which Sen has pinned such great hope and trust for the improvement of the lives of poverty stricken masses.

"One of the finest biographies of an academic figure I have ever seen. It gives wonderful insights into Amartya Sen's remarkable life. But more important, the film communicates the substance of Sen's life's work. An excellent teaching tool!"- Michael C. Munger (Chair, Political Science, Duke University), for Public Choice Journal

"A remarkable documentary that provides a comprehensive account of one of the greatest thinkers of our times. The film is not merely informative; it is an impetus for thought and reflection embellished with valuable views and concerns for the human condition [and] a profound and outstanding text of historical and interdisciplinary merit. Extremely useful in challenging notions of cultural distinction, innocence, and orientalist sympathies, besides drawing the historical significance of Sen's contributions outside of his discipline."- Leonardo: Journal of the International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology

"Superb, well-edited, and thoughtful... It lucidly explains for the viewer the essential nature of some of Sen's contributions and the social and personal context, and background in which he made them."- Professor Pranab Bardhan, Economics Department, University of California at Berkeley, Editor of the Journal of Development Economics

"A compelling portrayal of Sen's intellectual accomplishments as well as of the world that shaped and inspired him. An important film!"- Professor Arvind Rajagopal, Department of Media Studies, New York University

"Highly Recommended! This carefully organized, well-edited film is exceptionally good, and the interviews clearly convey and contribute to the film's objectives. Because Sen is considered to be one of the most preeminent social thinkers of our time, this film explains the essence of his contributions and the social and personal context from which he developed them. Students, faculty, and researchers in all areas of the social sciences will enjoy and learn from this thought-provoking video."- Educational Media Reviews Online

"Works either as a stand-alone movie or as a teaching aid in a social choice or economic development class. An effective film!"- Public Choice Journal

2005 Midwest Conference on Asian Affairs
2004 Association for Asian Studies Film Festival
2004 Annual South Asia Conference, University of California at Berkeley

56 minutes / Color
Release: 2003
Copyright: 2003

Subject areas:
Asia, Biographies, Business and Economics, Economics, Globalization, Philosophy, South Asia

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