...engaging and discerning culture, as a way of life...

April 29, 2007

The Pervert's Guide to Cinema - 7

The title of this film comes from the fact that this film looks at the art of cinema from a psychoanalytic perspective which means lots of theory based on Freud and Lacan- which deal a lot with human sexuality. This film is somewhat of an educational film in that it shows clips of films selected by philosopher and cultural theorist Slavoj Zizek, interspersed with his analysis of film. Zizek being a Hegelian philosopher, this film has three parts in which Zizek makes the case that film is able to provide the viewer with great insight into the subconscious. By helping the viewer know how to desire, they can then have knowledge of "the Real." Surprisingly, this film says this and more abstract notions with greater clarity and the examples from film make for a good learning experience of hard concepts through practical application. Zizek uses a lot of films from Hitchcock and David Lynch, but also films by Ingmar Bergman, and popular films like The Matrix and The Wizard of Oz. Part of the hope that Zizek has for people is that by connecting culture and abstract ideas everyone can become somewhat of an everyday philosopher. I agree, and recommend this film as a starting point for that project.

2 comments:

Gideon Strauss said...

This looks like fun! I wonder ... what kind of philosophy class could benefit from this movie?

~greg said...

This film is currently out in the UK at the moment, soon to be released in NA. My friend Paul had a copy that I saw, and we had a discussion about the way to use this in class (he teaches English and thought this could be a way to help student critically analyze film). It would probably have to be used in sections rather than showing the whole film as there are a few scenes that might not be acceptable in public (the clips from The Piano Teacher, Blue Velvet, and Wild at Heart). But the sections on Hitchcock, The Three Stooges, Chaplin, and The Matrix would work well for classes. I think the point would be to show students that film ought to be seen as an art form that intelligently engages its audience, rather than a mind-numbing escapism. It would also work on the topics of desire, reality, and Freudian psychoanalysis (Ego, Superego, and Id).