The Pervert's Guide to Cinema Sophie Fiennes

Don’t waste your nickels on tuition: this profound and entertaining three-part documentary is a film studies lecture that could put a few profs out of business. Co-written and hosted by the philosopher and psychoanalyst Slavoj Zizek, The Pervert’s Guide offers a lucid, funny and filmic Freudian analysis of the movies as ultimate projections of human desire. Zizek, who’s in the canon with Foucault and Derrida in all things brainiac, is a charismatic lecturer with a gift for distilling complex ideas into neat concepts graspable by even the most sleep-deprived of filmgoers. He’s aided in his efforts by the clever direction of Fiennes, who puts him in reconstructed sets from the subject films: the motorboat from Hitchcock’s The Birds, the armchair facing Morpheus in The Matrix, or the basement of the Bates Motel. Citing Charlie Chaplin, Andrei Tarkovsky, Sergei Eisenstein, David Lynch, Ridley Scott, Stanley Kubrick and others, Zizek’s thesis is that the reality of film is more real than our own, in that movies allow all of our desires to be exercised without inhibition. And he delivers more than a few zingers: contemplating the toilet in the bathroom set of Coppola’s The Conversation, Zizek proposes that we go to the movies in order so our dark desires may be flushed away into a cinematic netherworld, but the frisson we get from movie-going arises from knowing that our desires will be shot right back up the pipe and onto the screen. Thus, Zizek pronounces with glee, "all movies are really shit.” (Lone Star)