The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology
Film Title: The Pervert's Guide to Ideology
Director: Sophie Fiennes
Starring: Slavoj Žižek
Running Time: 136 min
Catch just a few passing minutes of Sophie Fiennes’s latest attempt to make sense of Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek’s twisty opinions on cinema and you could get the impression the director was selling her subject as a comic boffin in the style of Magnus Pyke or David Bellamy.
Zizek dresses up in funny costumes. He splutters in a style that positivelyinvites comic impersonation. Some of the post-Marxist musings sound ust the tiniest bit eccentric, albeit solid on the question of the economic base. Did he really just make an attempt to address the tyranny of ideology through the medium of the Kinder Egg? Pretty much. Is he suggesting that the end of Brief Encounter addresses the notion of a godless universe? Sure sounds that way.
Pay proper attention, however, and it becomes clear that, for all the oddness of his delivery, Zizek makes a great deal of sense. Expanding the arguments he began in Fiennes’s Pervert’s Guide to the Cinema, the omnivorous cultural theorist asks us to understand that all art is viewed through the prism of ideology. The baggage is one of the downsides to living in contemporary society.
With that in mind, he allows us to see that The Sound of Music has much to say about the dishonesty of Catholic thinking. We learn that Jaws speaks to society’s need to have one big fear stand for all little ones. Most importantly, evidence is offered to confirm that Titanic is a slab of reactionary bilge whose execrable final shot of Rose’s photographic autobiography gives two fingers to the working-class passengers lying barnacled at the bottom of the Atlantic. Damned straight.
Carry on, Slavoj. You’re a treasure.