The Pervert's Guide To Ideology (15)

Directed by Sophie Fiennes
Cast: Slavoj Zizek
Screened at FACT

Reviewed by Darren Guy 8/10/2013

Blow away the tat, the dreams, the fantasy and the rubbish. Bring in Slavoj Žižek - witty, challenging, clear and precise: the 'Elvis of Cultural Theory'.

Zizek is a Slovenian philosopher, who has made a name for himself, by making social theory accessible. Firstly through starring in the first 'Perverts Guide To The Cinema' and also on TV. He describes himself as a communist, and achieved international recognition as a social theorist after the 1989 publication of his first book in English, The Sublime Object of Ideology, which disputed a Marxist interpretation of ideology as false consciousness and argued for ideology as an unconscious fantasy that structures reality

Since then he has been listed as one of the top hundred thinkers. STOP. Don't turn away yet. The film is extremely entertaining.

Zizek, with his lisps and sniffing, takes us on funny and challenging journeys of some of the characters in some of the 'greatest' films made: ' Taxi Driver' 'The Sound Of Music' 'Titanic' 'Clockwork Orange' 'West Side Story' 'Last Temptation Of Christ' and many others. He challenges the ideology that is hidden behind these films and, more precisely, the ideological drive of the main characters. From Travis's (Robert De Niro), obsession with trying to protect the character played by Jodie Foster, the 13- year-old prostitute in Taxi Driver, to Julie Andrews's attempts to be a nun in 'The Sound Of Music', Zizek is passionate about the impact ideology has, not only on individuals, but on the world itself. Not simply left and right ideology but Catholicism, Hollywood and corporate ideology. Ideology, Zizek argues, permeates to the very core of a person, thus making them believe that this ideology is in fact their reality. This, Zizek contends,, is one of the major reasons people not only mess up, but why the majority of people are unhappy, and the world is in the terrible state it is in.

Slavoj Žižek's message was not new, reminding me a little of Albert Camus's semi-Marxist Existentialism. Strip away the glue of ideology that unites but really alienates people, and we can find our own truth not only change our lives but we can change the world.

Perverts Guide To Ideology is funny and challenging. It's invigorating to see a social theory documentary like this on semi-mainstream release.

My one criticism is that it the film can be a bit too full on, and it might have been easier on the audience if it was in two parts.

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