La La Land: A Leninist Reading

Among the PC reproaches to Damien Chazelle’s La La Land, the one that stands out for its sheer stupidity was that there are no gay couples in the film which takes place in LA, a city with a strong gay population… How come those PC Leftists who complain about the sub-representation of sexual and ethnic minorities in Hollywood movies never complain about the gross misrepresentation of the lower class majority of workers? It’s OK if[ …]

The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology (transcript/subtitles)

They Live (1988) I’ll give you a choice: either put on these glasses or start eating that trashcan. I already am eating from the trashcan all the time. The name of this trashcan is ideology. The material force of ideology makes me not see what I am effectively eating. It’s not only our reality which enslaves us. The tragedy of our predicament when we are within ideology is that when we think that we escape[ …]

Slavoj Žižek on His Favourite Plays, Interview with Liza Thompson

Can you tell us a little bit about why you’ve chosen each of these plays? At first, the five plays look like a jumbled heap lacking any common feature—what could they have in common? The bitter end of the old Oedipus who cannot reconcile himself with his fate; Richard II’s descent into madness after he is deprived of royal prerogatives; the meaningless self-sacrifice of a woman married to a man she despises; the ruthless killing[ …]

Slavoj Žižek on Trump and the Republican Party

[This is an extract from Slavoj Žižek’s appearance at Left Forum on May 22nd 2016. The primary topic is Trump and the Republican Party, but he digresses among others to WikiLeaks, normalisation of torture and rape, and of course toilets. Transcript below the video.] …today. I’m sorry. I speak too long, I will start to, try to, cut it short a little bit. I want to address, with Trump, what Amy was addressing; Donald Trump problem.[ …]

The Fright of Real Tears (Introduction)

The Strange Case of the Missing Lacanians If this book had been published twenty-five years ago, in the heyday of ‘structuralist Marxism’, its subtitle, undoubtedly, would have been ‘On Class Struggle in Cinema’. Let me begin by stating the obvious, with what in France they call une vérité de la Police’. to put it in good old Maoist terms, the principal contradiction of today’s cinema studies is the one between the deconstructionist/feminist/post-Marxist/psychoanalytic/sociocritical/cultural studies etc. approach,[ …]

The Fright of Real Tears (Preface)

This book out of a series of lectures that Slavoj Zizek delivered at London’s National Film Theatre in the summer of 1998. My invitation to give these lectures had a very precise purpose. I wanted Slavoj to address the weaknesses and insularity of film studies as they had developed in the university sector over the previous two decades. The lectures were intended to mark the end of a cycle of work in which at every[ …]

The Matrix, or, the two sides of perversion

[Delivered at the Inside the Matrix: International Symposium at the Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, on October 28th 1999.] When I saw The Matrix at a local theatre in Slovenia, I had the unique opportunity of sitting close to the ideal spectator of the film – namely, to an idiot. A man in the late 20ies at my right was so immersed in the film that he all the time disturbed other spectators with loud exclamations,[ …]

I watch therefore I am: seven movies that teach us key philosophy lessons

Is the quest for good a road to evil? Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter … and Spring Kim Ki-duk’s Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter … and Spring begins with a wise Buddhist monk and a small, innocent boy, his pupil. A few years later, a young woman arrives to be healed, and chaos is unleashed: the woman and the boy – now an adolescent – copulate, and the boy follows her to the city, abandoning the monk’s lone dwelling[ …]

Slavoj Žižek: ‘Most of the idiots I know are academics’

Slavoj Žižek is brimming with thought. Each idea sprays out of the controversial Slovenian philosopher and cultural theorist in a jet of words. He is like a water balloon, perforated in so many areas that its content gushes out in all directions. The result is that, as an interviewer, trying to give direction to the tide is a joyfully hopeless enterprise. Perhaps more significantly, the same seems to be true for Žižek himself. We meet[ …]

Redefining family values on film

Ideology in Hollywood? You don’t have to look for it, because it always finds you. In The King’s Speech the cause of the king-to-be’s stuttering is precisely his inability to assume his symbolic function and identify with his title. He displays little common sense, seriously accepting that one is a king by divine will; and the task of the Australian coach is to render him stupid enough to accept his sovereignty as natural property. In[ …]