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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Primal forms of the Phallus!, 24 Mar. 2010
This review is from: The Pervert's Guide To Cinema (REGION 0) (NTSC) [DVD] (DVD)
In this marvellous, hilarious and sometimes deeply shocking film, Slavoj Zizek visits various locations of iconic films, and includes excerpts from: The Birds, Vertigo, The Lost Highway, Solaris, et al to dissect the pleasure principle which has the power `to shape our desires and fuel our dreams' - in a Lacanian world, at least.

The key to understanding Zizek is that for him the fundamental insight of German idealism is that the truth of something is always outside it. So the truth of our experience lies outside ourselves, in the Symbolic and the Real, rather than being buried deep within us. We cannot look into our selves and find out who we truly are, because who we truly are is always elsewhere. Without going into the deeper reaches of Zizekian philosophy, it's essential when viewing this film to keep hold in your head of the following (which I have downloaded from the Wikipedia entry on Zizek) in which there are three levels of the Real:
- The "symbolic real": the signifier reduced to a meaningless formula
- The "real real": a horrific thing, that which conveys the sense of horror in horror films
- The "imaginary real": an unfathomable something that permeates things as a trace of the sublime.

Thus we have Zizek's brilliantly parodic and witty film the opening scene of David Lynch's film Blue Velvet with Zizek standing in for the father watering with a hose some tulips and pronouncing the flowers to be disgusting, vagina dentata, "Open to every bee or insect that comes along," A hilarious, wonderful laugh-out-loud moment - and there are many others.

But, of course, Zizek is entirely serious in other ways. When he speaks about the elemental forms that exist in super-ego, he is drawing closer to his central thesis that it is only in film that we can allow representations of ourselves that are transgressive, `abnormal', vindictive, alien to our over-socialised and rule-bound ego-self, to stand-for, to personify us. The mad father, (Dennis Hopper in Blue Velvet for instance), most typifies this form, but there are many others: Tarkovsky's Stalker, Chaplin's Dictator, and so on.

My only advice to cinema lovers is - sit back and enjoy. Zizek dissects, worries, complains, pontificates, explicates throughout, speaking entirely without notes, on the deeper, darker meanings of films from Alien to The Red Shoes by way of Ivan The Terrible. It's entirely fabulous and lovely from beginning to end.
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