Even for the excellent “Blank on Blank” — whose greatest hits include David Foster Wallace, Jim Morrison and Johnny Cash — today’s new video is particularly illuminating and poignant. The piece is titled “Philip Seymour Hoffman on Happiness,” and in his conversation with Simon Critchley — recorded live in December of 2012 at New York’s Rubin Museum of Art — the Oscar-winning actor talks of personal demons and universal truths in a way that shades more telling and perhaps eerie in light of his accidental-overdose death this past February.
Hoffman says he doesn’t equate pleasure with happiness, stating that he “kills pleasure” to the point of displeasure and that “there is no pleasure that I haven’t actually made myself sick on.”
The raspy-voiced, oft-laughing actor goes on to describe the practice of meditation as “coming right up to the lip of death,” and concludes that “learning how to die … is therefore learning how to live.”
The live audience’s laughter — as crowd members seem keenly attuned to the charismatic performer’s observations — takes on a darker patina now, postmortem.
Mostly, the clip is an artful, five-and-a-half-minute reminder of just how incisive the troubled Hoffman could be — all while baring elements of himself that endear and enchant in their raw honesty: