out of Five
Running time: 136
Slavoj Zizek psychoanalyses cinema and society in this engaging, interesting and spirited documentary.
What’s it all about?
Sophie Fiennes and Slavoj Zizek partner up again six years after the successful The Pervert’s Guide to Cinema came out with a grand thesis on cinema and ideology; Zizek narrates and Fiennes directs.
Zizek is a passionate narrator and Fiennes playfully places him within the films he is talking about: he’s robed in a priest’s habit explaining the reasoning behind the censorship of Mother Abbess’ Climb Every Mountain from The Sound of Music in Yugoslavia and floating in a lonely sea discussing his theory about Rose in Titanic, that she is in fact using Jack to flatter her broken ego rather than feeling any grand romantic connection. It’s all very amusing and laced with a mischievous disposition.
Zizek often speaks of his psychoanalytical friends who inform him of the modern day phenomenon of pleasure becoming a “weird perverted duty” due to advertisements brainwashing the public into thinking they should constantly feel fulfilled and be having a good time. Consequently, he provokes the viewer to pierce through what society deems correct which can only be a positive thing.
From the offset Zizek engages in relatable intellectual theory with presentation of snippets from famous films which fit in with his theory. Beginning with John Carpenter’s They Live, which he uses to explain the strange religious structure of the culture of capitalism and consumerism, he moves to Taxi Driver and The Searchers relating them to misguided humanitarian intervention. His ideas are occasionally outrageous but always compelling and should inspire you to dig deeper into the importance of film in a socio-political context.
Zizek is constantly finding links between the past and the present through cinema: vilification of the Jewish in The Eternal Jew is related to John Major’s “Back to Basics” campaign and fixation on the single mother as the root of society’s evil. He talks of the Big Other which is as a scapegoat instead of the risking inciting a new world order, which makes for provocative and persuasive viewing despite it occasionally coming across as a jumbled mess of thoughts.
The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology is for anyone looking to delve deeper into film and how it relates and reflects modern society.
The Pervert's Guide To Ideology (15)