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The Pervert’s Guide To The Cinema – great film, dumb title

Miss Hedren I'm not sure about that new perfume...

Miss Hedren I'm not sure about that new perfume...

The Pervert’s Guide to Cinema – Sophie Fiennes

Great film. Dumb title. This is a tour de force of intellectual passion and sheer irrepressible enthusiasm displayed by Slavoj Žižek’s, Slovenian psychoanalyst, sociologist and philosopher. Žižek applies his psychoanalytic concepts to the interpretation of cinema as a serious and cathartic art form. His obvious love of movies drives his highly persuasive deep analysis of technique and directorial psychological and aesthetic perspective. Even if one resists the validity of his psychoanalytical interpretation is some cases, in others it is wholly convincing. Especially in the cases of Hitchcock and David Lynch. Indeed it is the first time I have ever felt any insight into Lynch’s more obscure movies like Lost Highway and Blue Velvet. Given the widespread recourse to psychoanalysis of many Hollywood Directors, it may be that without the kind of insights Žižek provides in these cases, much of the imagery used by those directors in their films will defy comprehension.

Essentially three digitally shot, 1-hour TV programmes strung together, there is real benefit in seeing them back-to-back to follow the continuity of what are at times stimulating but challenging ideas. Žižek relishes illustrating his analyses and insights with a marvellous selection of clips from some of the most influential films in cinema. Director Fiennes sensibly give the man his head, but with a fine sense or irony and dramatic impact, films him doing so from the actual or recreated sites and sets of the movies he is discussing.

If you love film, this is a must see. And don’t let the dumb title put you off. Though be warned, this is a serious adult analysis and therefore some of the illustrations are graphic.
(October 2006)

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