28 June 2011 | Red-Barracuda
Good fun, although I only agreed with bits of it
To be honest, I really wasn't sure if I was meant to take this documentary seriously. It's host, Slavoj Zizek, is a Slovenian psychoanalyst who is simultaneously interesting and ridiculous. One third of the time his theories went straight over my head, another third of the time I found them (unintentionally?) hilarious, while the final third of the time I saw where he was coming from. Although I can't in all honesty say that I came away from The Pervert's Guide to Cinema with a feeling that I had a greater understanding of the subtext of the films discussed. I didn't really agree with a lot of what Zizek said, his (over)analysis was very entertaining though. The documentary as a result feels much more about Zizek himself than the films. However, it does have to be said that the selection of movies covered is really pretty good, so from that basis alone this is a film documentary worth seeing.
It's not especially clear who this is aimed at mind you. The title is very misleading. It makes it sound like it should be a guide to sexploitation films or something. Well, of course it isn't. Zizek examines Freudian theories in cinema specifically in the case of films by Alfred Hitchcock and David Lynch, but also with extensive clips from many other movies ranging from The Wizard of Oz to The Matrix. Zizek is the only person in this feature, so it works like an extended - if rambling - essay. Director Sophie Fiennes makes things a little more visually interesting by having Zizek appear to be in the film set himself - we see him in the cellar in Psycho, the hotel room in Vertigo and in a speedboat in Bodega Bay in The Birds. It's a neat touch, and quite funny too. As are much of Zizek's throwaway comments such as his view that 'flowers should be forbidden to children' or when he states that Stalinism was all about totalitarianism, mass murder and musicals. Even if you don't agree with this guy, you have to admit he is never exactly boring.