Precious Bodily Fluids

The Pervert’s Guide To Cinema

To respond to Slavoj Žižek’s film The Pervert’s Guide To Cinema demands serious thought in the vein of an academic essay, something I’m not prepared to do here. In summary, however, it may be said that Žižek adeptly uses what seems to be his artistic medium of choice to illustrate manifestations of psychoanalytic theory. It might seem to some to miss the point of his argument, but Žižek’s participation in the different film scenes was done oh so well. And in fact, this might be exactly the point of the argument. He puts himself back in the places of Vertigo, The Birds, Psycho (he likes Hitch), etc., appropriately illustrating the premise undergirding basic spectator theory: the viewer sees him/herself in the place of the protagonist, who is determined according to the film’s positioning. (It’s interesting, though, that Žižek does not sit in Norman Bates’ chair in the motel, but rather in Mrs. Bates’ chair in the basement [i.e., id] of the Bates’ home.) To think that Žižek, in all of his intellectual prowess, would make a film like this and not mess around with cinematic toys is highly naïve. He begins the film with an example from The Matrix. Morpheus offers Neo a choice between two pills. One pill will allow him to return to his life and remember nothing of what has happened. The other pill will show him the “reality behind the illusion.” Žižek rejects this two-fold dilemma, demanding a third pill: one that shown the reality within the illusion, or of a much more intimate relationship between the two concepts. Žižek is worthy of attention and respect, if not for his conclusions then for his intellectual process and the extreme reasonableness of his arguments. The sweet soul (heretofore to be called “Beardsley”) who exposed me to this film also informed me of Žižek’s affinity for G.K. Chesterton, apparently his favorite Christian theologian. This is fitting, a posteriori. And it lends further incentive to investigate the decidedly post-Marxist (or as Beardsley tells me, “Leninist”) ideology but nevertheless credible intellectual infrastructure of this remarkable thinker.


This entry was published on January 13, 2009 at 10:39 pm. It’s filed under 2000s Cinema, British Film and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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