2010 | USA, France | Fiction

Rites of Love and Math

  • English 26 mins
  • Director | Reine Graves, Edward Frenkel
  • Writer | Edward Frenkel, Reine Graves
  • Producer | Edward Frenkel, Reine Graves, Masako King, Alex Freedland

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Is there a mathematical formula for love without death? The film "Rites of Love and Math" is a sprawling allegory about Truth and Beauty, Love and Death, Mathematics and Tattoo, set on the stage of Japanese Noh theater.

About the Directors: Edward Frenkel is Professor of Mathematics at University of California at Berkeley and one of the leading mathematical physicists in the world. Reine Graves is a talented French filmmaker who has directed a number of original and controversial films that have won prestigious awards. Having met in Paris, Frenkel and Graves decided to create a film showing the beauty of mathematics. But how to do this without getting bogged down in technical details of the subject that could scare away non-specialists? Looking for the right metaphor, they came across the idea of making the tattoo of a mathematical formula. Then the formula, which is the product of the mind, would become one with the body. They found the aesthetic language for expressing this allegory in the enigmatic film "Rites of Love and Death" (a.k.a. "Patriotism") by the great Japanese writer Yukio Mishima, which had a very unusual and mysterious history of its own (banned for over 40 years, it came out on DVD in the Criterion Collection in 2008). The exquisite imagery of Mishima's film and the original idea of Frenkel and Graves have led to the creation of "Rites of Love and Math."

Produced by  Edward Frenkel and Reine Graves

Co-produced by Sycamore Films, Masako King, and Alex Freedland

Director of Photography: Daniel Barrau

Music: Richard Wagner, Raphael Fernandez

Editing: Thomas Bertay, Sycomore Films

With support from Fondation Sciences Mathématiques de Paris


love math equation sex death calligraphy