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The Pervert's Guide to Cinema (2006)

Slavoj Zizek examines famous films in a philosophical and a psychoanalytic context.

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THE PERVERT'S GUIDE TO CINEMA takes the viewer on an exhilarating ride through some of the greatest movies ever made. Serving as presenter and guide is the charismatic Slavoj Zizek, acclaimed philosopher and psychoanalyst. With his engaging and passionate approach to thinking, Zizek delves into the hidden language of cinema, uncovering what movies can tell us about ourselves. Whether he is untangling the famously baffling films of David Lynch, or overturning everything you thought you knew about Hitchcock, Zizek illuminates the screen with his passion, intellect, and unfailing sense of humour. THE PERVERT'S GUIDE TO CINEMA cuts its cloth from the very world of the movies it discusses; by shooting at original locations and from replica sets it creates the uncanny illusion that Zizek is speaking from 'within' the films themselves. Together the three parts construct a compelling dialectic of ideas. Described by The Times in London as 'the woman helming this Freudian inquest,' director ... Written by P Guide Ltd.

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16 January 2009 (USA)  »

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Manual de cine para pervertidos  »

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Slavoj Zizek: Cinema is the art of appearances, it tells us something about reality itself. It tells us something about how reality constitutes itself.
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one naughty ride
5 March 2010 | by (Seattle, WA ~ USA) – See all my reviews

"Cinema is the ultimate pervert art. It doesn't give you what you desire; it tells you how to desire."

So begins "The Pervert's Guide to Cinema," in which Slovenian philosopher and psychoanalyst Slavoj Zizek applies his Freudian/Lacanian brain-scalpel to world cinema. This film in three parts is the second feature documentary directed by Sophie Fiennes (yes, sister of Ralph and Joseph), and it is a notable accomplishment, clocking in at 2 1/2 hours of talk from one man and yet remaining humorous and engaging throughout. In essence, it is an extended film lecture, and one of the best you may ever get. Over the course of the film, Zizek guides us through a catalog of obsession and desire in film history. He touches on more than 40 films and, in particular, spends a great deal of time with Hitchcock, Lynch, Chaplin, Tarkovsky, the Marx Brothers, and Eisenstein. But he also takes a close look at "Persona," "The Conversation," "Three Colors: Blue," "Dogville," "Fight Club," and "The Exorcist." Thematically, Zizek's inquiry into cinema ranges from thoughts on the death drive to the "coordinates of desire," and from Gnosticism to "partial objects."

"The Pervert's Guide" will be a slightly better experience if you've taken a few minutes to bone up on your basic Freudian terminology. However, even if you're not steeped in psychoanalytic theory, Zizek's dynamic and hilarious personality carries the film forward with such gusto that you aren't likely to balk at the specialized lingo. The film frequently cuts from movie clips to images of Zizek *inside* the movie he is talking about--that is, in the original locations and sets. The transitions in these sequences sustain such tension and humor that the trick never gets old. And Zizek himself is constantly making us laugh, either from bizarre little jokes or from his enthusiastic insistence on, for example, a bold Oedipal interpretation of "The Birds." And this go-ahead-and-laugh attitude, on the parts of both Fiennes and Zizek, is essential to the gonzo character of the film. It is the spoonful of sugar that helps us digest Zizek's weird medicine. After all, don't we all have a sense that, past a certain point, psychology theorists are just pulling our legs?


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