Thursday, August 14, 2008

How To Cultivate Artificial Desires

The Pervet's Guide To CinemaDirected by Sophie Fiennes(2006)

Bear in mind, any film (let alone documentary) which asserts any kind of truth, will generate an adverse and proportional amount of cynicism, from those to whom any suggestion of and or search for truths is already meaningless, those of you who are already Masters of psychology, film, and captains of the soul, will no doubt find this movie redundant, after all, you already know everything there is to know. Congrats.
For those of us in the minority, like myself, I found "The Perverts Guide To Cinmea"....mostly brilliant, and worth watching for those interested in movies, psychology, and modern philosophy. A little like Scott Mclouds' "Understanding Comics", director Sophie Fiennes, inter-grates Slovene philosopher, psychologist, and social critic Slavoj Zizek right into many of the films and specif scenes he discusses. The cover of the film, for instance, is an image from Hitchcock's '"The Birds"(Zizek takes a boat out to re-create the shot).
Lacanian Psycho-analysis, does not necessarily scream, an evening of great fun...but it is! If you like movies that is.... Having some knowledge of Lacanian psycho-analysis helps (Symbolic, Real, and Imaginary) are terms which get thrown around a little loosely at first, but the scenes which Zizek selects and analyze make remarkably clear what was always for me, a very abstract subject. In fact, it's probably better to have a familiarity with the films he's discussing than with the terminology he uses, which becomes clearer as the film goes on. Why I love, this film isn't because it picks great films to analyze or reveals great truths about Lacan, but shows in a very practical and clever manner, where film and psychology (and by default philosophy) meet. Why is "The Sound Of Music" kinda fascistic, why is "Short Cuts" about more than just class and alienation, why do the birds attack in "The Birds", what is there to learn about the mind from "Alien Resurrection", what does the planet of "Solaris" want, what does "Psycho" and "The Marx Brothers" have to do with each other, and what the hell is David Lynch getting across in movie after movie...well Zizek has some ideas. The role of the voice in both "The Excorcist" and "Star Wars: Revenge Of The Sith", is maybe the movies strongest and most lucid moment, when he gets into feminine sexual subjectivity I begin to one point Zizek admits his feeling that flowers are a kind of decorative vagina dentatta, that they are disgusting and should be hidden from children (jokingly, it seems but...). Anyway, it's a fascinating documentary, which anyone who has ever seen a movie, and thought it meant something more than was literally stated, should make an attempt to see. And anyone interested in Slavoj Zizek, this is a must as well, much less dry than "Reality Of The Virtual", and more direct than "Zizek!", two other pseudo-docs, about "the Elvis of contemporary cultural criticism", as he is being dubbed, in the English speaking world. "The Perverts Guide To Cinema" is NOT about the role of sex in cinema. Zizek claims cinema is the ultimate pervert art, because it teaches "how to desire, and not what to desire", and that it is the only contemporary art form that can allow for these desires to be articulated. This is not a film about finding the reality in cinema, it's about finding the cinema in reality, and how important and exciting that can be. Hard to find, and a bit long, but well worth the trouble, one of the most "stimulating" movie watching experiences I've ever had.

No comments: