Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The Pervert's Guide to Cinema (2006)

As a lovely parting gift for being banned from a certain message-board website, a friend of mine recently sent me Sophie Fiennes documentary in three parts on DVD.

I first saw the film at The Toronto International Film Festival in 2006, and while I wasn't blown away, I did enjoy every minute.

What captured my love in the first viewing was Zizek's infectious enthusiasm and obvious love for film. So much theory (be it film or literary) is dry and lifeless because the writer obviously looks at it as work.

What I noticed most upon a second viewing was the direction by Fiennes. Sure the placing of Zizek within sets carefully designed to look like the movies he is commenting upon is a conceit, but the cleverness/shock value actually wears out pretty quickly, and were he not saying anything of interest the fact that he was sitting in a bathroom that looks identical to the one Gene Hackman was investigating in The Conversation wouldn't be of much interested.

What's interesting are the cuts, the way Fiennes keeps the rapid flow of energy going so that the viewer is able to forgive the number of thoughts Zizek doesn't quite finish before moving on to the next one.

I think a less sure director would have tried take after take in an attempt to streamline, to make it more coherent even at the cost of making it more dull. Like the uncontrollable body parts that Zizek riffs upon, the film itself is full of life and energy, occasionally banging into walls but always rising unhurt to go barrelling at a 100 mph into the next wall.

Great, great fun. Do see it if you get a chance.

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