The author of works on subjects as wide-ranging as Alfred Hitchcock, 9/11, opera, Christianity, Lenin and David Lynch, Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek is one of the most important—and outrageous—cultural theorists working today. A Pervert’s Guide to Ideology is a wildly entertaining romp through the crossroads of cinema and philosophy. With infectious zeal and a voracious appetite for popular culture, Zizek literally goes inside some truly epochal movies, all the better to explore and expose how they reinforce prevailing ideologies. As the ideology that undergirds our cinematic fantasies is revealed, striking associations emerge: What hidden Catholic teachings lurk at the heart of The Sound of Music? What are the fascist political dimensions of Jaws? Taxi Driver, Zabriskie Point, The Searchers, The Dark Knight, John Carpenter’s They Live (“one of the forgotten masterpieces of the Hollywood Left”), Titanic, Kinder Eggs, verite news footage, Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” and propaganda epics from Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia all inform Zizek’s stimulating, provocative and often hilarious psychoanalytic-cinematic rant.
Directed by Sophie Fiennes, who worked with Peter Greenaway on several of his seminal films including The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and her lover. And yes, she is part of that Fiennes family. (136 min)
Essential viewing for cinephiles. -Time Out, London
The philosopher Slavoj Zizek is not allergic to the sound of his own heavily-accented voice. Fortunately, he’s a bravura lecturer with a keen sense of what draws audiences to movies. Film schools could use this guy, yet it probably won’t get more than a fraction of the art-house and festival crowd. “The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology” walks through cinematic history to link mythic movies to the needs that Zizek says they satisfy– a two-hour one-man punchline that teaches you something. Heaps of psychoanalytic theory are delivered in a Bela Lugosi voice in locations that replicate those in the films under discussion, with the poker-faced Slovenian-born narrator costumed for everything from “Taxi Driver” to “The Searchers.”– Indiewire
It’s EXHILARATING STUFF. Fiennes lightens the weight of Zizek’s discourse with a welcome scattering of sight gags. He’s a man to be taken seriously, but not averse to donning a nun’s habit — and for that we love him. – Time Out New York