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The Pervert's Guide to Ideology

3.8 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Cultural theorist superstar Slavoj Zizek re-teams with director Sophie Fiennes (The Pervert's Guide to Cinema) for another wildly entertaining romp through the crossroads of cinema and philosophy. With infectious zeal and a voracious appetite for popular culture, Zizek literally goes inside some truly epochal movies to explore and expose how they reinforce prevailing ideologies. As the ideology that undergirds our cinematic fantasies is revealed, striking associations emerge: What hidden Catholic teachings lurk at the heart of The Sound of Music? What are the fascist political dimensions of Jaws? Taxi Driver, Zabriskie Point, The Searchers, The Dark Knight, John Carpenter's They Live (one of the forgotten masterpieces of the Hollywood Left), Titanic, Kinder Eggs, verité news footage, Beethoven's Ode to Joy and propaganda epics from Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia all inform Zizek's stimulating, provocative and often hilarious psychoanalytic-cinematic rant.

DVD Special Features:

- HD transfer, enhanced for widescreen viewing

- Q&A with Slavoj Zizek and Sophie Fiennes

- U.S. theatrical trailer

- Optional subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired (SDH)

The World's Most Unlikely Movie Star!
-The New York Times

A riveting and often hilarious demonstration of the Slovenian philosopher's uncanny ability to turn movies inside out and accepted notions on their head.
-Jordan Mintzer, The Hollywood Reporter

Product Details

  • Actors: Slavoj Zizek
  • Directors: Sophie Fiennes
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Enhanced, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Zeitgeist Films
  • DVD Release Date: February 18, 2014
  • Run Time: 136 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00GX33J7E
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,118 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
This is not to say Zizek provides a clear or easy message, and to my lay understanding he appears to jump around quite a bit without and easy roadmap. Strangely this neither interfered with my simple enjoyment of his amusing subjects for deep analysis, his perhaps unintentional sense of comic timing, or his truly engaging constructions of the subtle cues in superficial trends of society.

No, this wasn't an epiphany of the sort you can easily explain to others. But where Zizek shines for me is in each individual example. Most of them ring true in a way that you can feel broadening your perspective on THAT particular example. And while his examples didn't really add up to a big WOW for me at the end of the film, I'm not sure critical theorists even aim for that, as their "answer" could be taken for propaganda and clutched as"truth" like any other message of propaganda.

Maybe I'm too dim to see the big picture behind critical theorists like Zizek, Benjamin, and Derrida, but I feel delightfully challenged by their efforts, one by one, and feel that this movie reminded me to look beneath the obvious message of pop culture iconography and idealism for more subtle dynamics of control and subversion.

Don't be scared off by any of this as the opening segment praises the 1988 John Carpenter movie, "THEY LIVE" for it's astute critique on consumer culture. And he's right! I can't wait to dig up this old film as it appears to be excellent social satire made palatable with a monster movie approach.

Look, if you're a PhD student this might be too remedial or lightweight for you to use for your thesis, but as a layman who seeks out new philosophical ideas to expand my perception of the world, I loved it.

I don't want the answer Zizek doesn't provide; I want new tools to peel the onion of existence back a layer or two and figure out more from there. I was not let down.

Highly recommended.
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Format: DVD
Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek and director Sophie Fiennes, who collaborated on The Pervert's Guide to Cinema, join forces once again for a rambling meditation on film and pop culture in The Pervert's Guide to Ideology.

It's a hilarious treatise on how Hollywood expresses important cultural political ideals through how characters move through plots, and the discussion is fast, funny, and furious. It is a thinking man's treatise on cinema, and what's fun is they are using populist pieces rather than underground cinema that often has its own political agenda on display. No long looks at My Dinner with Andre, rather here we have analysis of the big summer blockbusters on what they do to our state of mind, psychoanalysis, and dreams.

DVD is a great way to experience this film, especially with a booklet that provides references to the films as well as statements from the director and production notes. Also included as an extra feature is a half-hour discussion with Sophie and Slavoj at a museum screening, which serves to explain the genesis of the project as well as provide more rants and raves. The visual presentation from HD elements is fine, although often the quality is dependent on the age of a film they are talking about. This is a talking-head-interspersed-with-clips kind of affair. Sound is a simple English stereo with subtitles for those who are hard of hearing or have difficulty following the stream-of-thought Slovenian shouting off the screen at them. The DVD is a great presentation, and even a step-up from the museum screenings that most people attended to first see this movie.

The Pervert's Guide to Ideology is a smart and playful ride that explores cinema and culture through unlikely avenues.
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Zizek has a lot to say about the meaning of life, or to put it a bit more psychologically the meanings of our lives, and why and how we might entrust others (or what he oddly calls a "Big Other") to provide that meaning to us. Obviously he's going to be wrong some of the time, but as an adult you just have to accept that. His ideas remain extremely entertaining and fun to think about, which is the purpose of watching all these movie clips and visual effects, rather than just reading one of his books.

Some of his remarks are spot on and should be delightful to most viewers -- for example, his discussion of Ode to Joy and its role in Clockwork Orange, as well as Coke advertisements. Other remarks, especially towards the end of the movie, were not really comprehensible to me, and he was jumping around a bit too fast for me to understand. And of course there is his obsession with the term "capitalism", which unsurprisingly becomes more all-encompassing as he applies it to more and more things. But the viewer should watch this with some sympathy, for as Zizek possibly understands, the pleasure of overcoming one's resistance to leaving the comfortable confines of one's own ideology is superior to the pleasure of shutting out all resistance to that ideology. All in all, this is a good film to rent at least, if you like actual critical theory instead of faux critical theory.
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I wanted to see this film because Zizek is quoted more and more often in books I review. I wanted to see who he is. He is a twitchy philosopher and political scientist with a lot to say. What is most interesting is that he frames his philosophy in popular films from all over. He has an encyclopedic knowledge of films, and extracts the points he wants to make from the unlikeliest of them. It makes his theories instantly relevant, possible and palatable, and keeps you in your seat. You never know what's coming next.

Most entertaining is Zizek putting himself in recreated sets of the films he uses as examples, in costume. He appears in Jaws, Titanic, Seconds, Dark Knight, West Side Story, Taxi, Sound of Music and numerous others that he employs to dismantle the foundations of modern society. He shows the undermining of justice, of authority, of religion, of The Big Other - and uses them to show that they actually demonstrate the very opposite of what they appear to stand for. That's an accomplishment.

There is plenty to disagree with. Zizek comes up with a theory that love and couples are incidental to the stories in films. But there would be no film industry without the love interest, the struggle to consummate a relationship, the sacrifice, the betrayal, and all the other mechanisms that make film stories attractive to audiences. You almost want to stop the film and call him up and say - how can you say that?

It is a long film that covers a lot of territory. But it covers it entertainingly on several levels: the explanation from within the set, the clips from the films themselves, and the linking of them to make his points. If this lecture were a book, the pages would be soaked with highlighter.

David Wineberg
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