Slavoj Žižek – The man, the legend

The Pervert's Guide to Ideology poster.jpg

This documentary was very interesting, due to the fact that Slavoj Žižek is a very awkward person. However, he points out some interesting points, both good and bad. Here are my thoughts on the documentary.

The Good

  • I actually liked his Titanic interpretation, where he talks about how Leonardo has to die in the end of the movie, otherwise the “fantasy” or sadness of “what could have been” of their love for one another would have fizzled out. Had Leonardo lived, they would have gone back to New York, made love for two weeks, and realize that it could never work between the two of them. That is the reality of the situation, however, killing off Leonardo keeps the fantasy alive in the minds of people, which I absolutely agree with. I believe that people do this all the time, that we cover up our “messed” up desires through fantasies, and this is exactly what James Cameron did to cover up the real desires of the two main characters (or the reality of the situation), by killing off Leonardo.
  • The Starbucks example he provided was another point that I absolutely agreed with. People hide their “consumerism” thirst by trying to attach something “good” to the product that they are buying (they were going to buy it anyway), to not feel so guilty about purchasing something. The higher price paid for Starbucks coffee, people in their minds attach the “good”, which is “every cent of a dollar will save the “rain forests”, etc, to the coffee, to justify the higher price paid. Even though deep down inside, I believe that people know that they are paying a premium for no reason (coffee bean quality, materials, etc, are the same as other coffee products), but they hide this reality by attaching a reason to the product, for purchasing it at a higher price. Thinking back, I realized that even I do this all the time, for example, at the time I had an iPhone 4, the iPhone 5 just came out, and I really wanted it. Deep down inside, I knew that both phones were almost identical in terms of the functionalities that that I used, and that I wanted it just because it was “shinny”, “new” and “cool”. However, I masked all these desires, by convincing myself that I bought this new phone, because it had a better environmental rating compared to my phone.

The Bad

  • The ideologies he pointed out in Jaws made no sense to me. To him, the shark in the movie, represent all the fears of society, such as communism (a big one for when the movie released), another world war, the economy, etc. To me, the shark does not represent the fears of society, this was Slavoj’s point of view, which is fine with me, it is how he interpreted the movie. However, he goes on to say that this was Steven Spielberg’s (director) interpretation of the shark as well. I researched online and no where did I find Spielberg saying that the shark in the movie represented society’s fears. It is one thing to voice your own opinion and interpretation of the movie, but it is another to say what the director was “thinking” in his own head.
  • For me personally, I wish that he had chosen more current movies to dissect, the parts in the documentary that I had a lot of trouble following was when he talked about the older films (anything older than 1970). Or he could have chosen more popular older films, so that more people could understand the ideologies he was pointing out in older films.

But overall, an interesting documentary, one that will definitely make me look for the “deeper” meaning in movies that I view in the future.

Is this how communism attacks people?



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