CineMathematics or CinemaThematics. Your choice

Friday, May 18, 2007

IFFBoston: The Pervert's Guide to Cinema

It certainly seems to be Slavoj Zizek's moment in the sun. His recent take on 300 as well as his new documentary The Pervert's Guide to Cinema have thrust him into the spotlight of film criticism (relatively speaking). One can only hope that a film like this can elevate the discussion of film.

The first thing to consider about this film is its very construction. Zizek has taken film criticism, almost entirely done in writing, and put it on the big screen in an attempt to take his unique view to a broader audience. The effort must be applauded, no matter how you feel about his particular views (I for one think he's dead wrong on 300, but that's a topic for another post). The film is also divided into three chapters. This is a clear reflection of Zizek's particular beliefs. Zizek, as he demonstrates throughout the film, is a strong advocate for Freud, so it's only appropriate that he should divide his film into three sections, for the ego, id, and super ego.

The Pervert's Guide to Cinema is based around the argument that cinema doesn't reflect our desires; it creates our desires. Zizek often strays from his argument, leaving less of a general impression and more of a collection of small impressions. He provides some wonderful insight, such as his view of the Marx Brothers, but the overall impact of his argument is lost in the details. Not that it really matters. Zizek is engaging enough to make the two and a half hours fly by. The ideas are provoking and he raises numerous intelligent questions. I hope people really get a chance to see this one, as it makes people think about the way they see movies. I'll never see the Marx Brothers the same way again.

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