BFI London Film Festival 2012 – Day 12 Slavoj Žižek Interview & Q&A
And we’re done. My final day at this years festival was one of the highlights of the year, I bused it over to the Hackney Picturehouse to indulge in a discussion and Q&A with the worlds leading rock n roll philosopher Slavoj Žižek. He’s in town to promote The Perverts Guide To Ideology, the ‘sequel’ to 2005’s The Perverts Guide To Cinema, both directed by Sophie Fiennes (who was in the audience) they provide a brilliantly executed stage for Zizek to explore his critical theories on cinema and society, psychoanalysis and cultural studies, all through the prism of cinema’s hidden political codes and sigils, iconography and meanings. I’m a big fan of Zizek, he is unquestionably one of the great minds currently expounding on the art form, here are some articles which may tickle your fancy. I saw The Perverts Guide To Ideology earlier in the week and it is fantastic, probably the ‘serious’ cineastes film event of the year, in a similar way to Mark Cousins The Story of Film was for 2011 if that makes sense. There’s no clips or trailer yet so here is a quite glimpse of the preceding essay;
This event wasn’t so much hosted by Film 2012’s Danny Leigh as it was him asking a question and scurrying away from the circumference of the blast radius, for example his opening query on The Dark Knight and Žižek’s assertion that the entire film shows authority and the architecture of the state all posited on a lie and untruths, to which our bearded VIP made an unhesitating ten minute answer ranging from Nixon in China to West Side Story, from the Regan administration to the Israeli and Palestinian conflict pivoting on water rights, from The Sound Of Music to Brechtian theatre techniques – he is quite the orator as you can see here, skip to 11:10 if you wanna get past the intro;
Anyone who starts their thesis with this clip from They Live is bound to working in Minty’s favour, and some of his assertions and observations were stone cold brilliant, from his love of that scene detailing a working class drifter finally becoming aware of class battles and how it has to be a deliberately painful and protracted breaking of the shackles of false consciousness, or his thoughts about the Hollywood catastrophe film are always arranged around a Oedipal order, of how in Armageddon the rogue asteroid is in fact Bruce Willis unchecked libido destroying the world as he objects to Ben Afflecks fucking his daughter Liv Tyler as a violation of his patriarchal order – well I thought that was funny. In the film essay he also makes the brilliant point that we, as a society, are perfectly conditioned to enjoy and revel in spectacles of destruction, of planet annihilation events such as plagues, alien invasions of catastrophic natural disasters, but we cannot and do not let films exist where even a slight change in the distribution of wealth in society, of a more egalitarian sharing of resources and money is never explored, as these texts simply don’t exist – and why is that?
Many people reject this sort of material as pseudo intellectual academic pretentious art-wank and maybe they have a point, I think its fascinating but that’s just me. He also remarked that he likes to play a game with his fellow academics such as Frederic Jameson where they take a neglected or inferior Hitchcock film and argue that it is a misunderstood masterpiece – Jameson opting for Stage Fright, he for Under Capricorn – simply as a critical theory brain exercise. I’ll bet they are great fun at parties too…..
So that’s another LFF done, my most ambitious coverage yet, in terms of recommendations then I must highlight Amour, Argo, West of Memphis and probably Seven Psychopaths, for the more discerning viewer I can also offer Dreams For Sale, Compliance and Helter Skelter. I’ve still got one more review to scribe and I can rest. Well, apart from tomorrows Rust & Bone screening. Oh, and that Holy Motors review isn’t going to write itself. And The Master is out soon and I’ve got to see Beasts Of The Southern Wild this week. I should also see Skyfall as that will be one of the years big films. Then there’s the two horror classics early next month………