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Zizek!
Zizek
Actor: Slavoj Zizek
Director: Astra Taylor
Genres: Indie & Art House, Documentary
NR     2006     1hr 11min

The author of works on subjects as wide-ranging as Alfred Hitchcock, 9/11, opera, Christianity, Lenin and David Lynch, Slovenian cultural theorist Slavoj Zizek is one of the most important--and outrageous--philosophers wor...  more »

     
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Movie Details

Actor: Slavoj Zizek
Director: Astra Taylor
Genres: Indie & Art House, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Documentary
Studio: Zeitgeist Films
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 07/25/2006
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 1hr 11min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 4
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

Zizek, or, Nostalgia for a Time Before the Postmodern
Doug Anderson | Miami Beach, Florida United States | 06/21/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Those who like theory but don't take the whole theory game all that seriously will be in the best position to enjoy this.
Those rigorously trained theoriticans who take their theory very seriously will probably be less inclined to just kick back and enjoy this, and more inclined to find faultlines within Zizek's thinking.

Zizek acknowledges that many expect more from him than he has to give. He admits that leftists in the market for political formulas/solutions are invariably disappointed with his lectures, but, in his own defense, he states that it is not a philosophers job to find solutions but to examine the kinds of questions that we ask: ie what is truth?

I think one of the appeals of Zizek is that he is an old school marxist at a time when marxism is no longer fashionable nor viable. And theres something romantic and/or nostalgic about this and it gives him an underdog appeal. At a time when many thinkers have abandon trying to imagine an alternative to liberal capitalism, Zizek is a kind of old style revivalist. His common folk appeal is hard to resist. If you are the kind of person that likes a bit of theory now and then but is turned off by a lot of its elitist tendencies, well, Zizek is a breath of fresh eccentrically charged air.

What Zizek really excels at doing is critiquing the way late phase captialism shapes the public imagination. If capitalism trades in commodity fetsishism and fantasies of unfettered market freedoms and unlimited horizons for liberal subjects, then Zizek sees it as his job to show that this fantasy is just that, a fantasy, and that late capitalist ideology is still ideology.

Zizek has an obvious distaste for the postmodern and an obvious nostalgia for the world that existed before postmodernism. The reason is that everything that Zizek values (possibility) is erased by postmodernism (which to Zizek means the total victory of capitalist ideology). Even though Zizek is not a Stalinist, he is nostalgic for a time when there was something that stood up against captalism.

And so, though very few believe that capitalism is going anywhere, Zizek appeals because while examining the paradoxes that exist within captialist ideology he offers us glimpses of a world that exists outside of it. For some Zizek's deconstructions are a very satisfying form of entertainment, for others Zizek's performances are proof that opposition and dissent are still alive and well and that not everything has been subsumed by the dominant ideology.

In sum, Zizek is the ultimate humanist because he believes that no one individual or society is ever totally subsumed by ideology. There is always an excess that is not contained, and therein lies the optimism (the utopian urge) inherent in all Zizekian discourses (or counterdiscourses)."
A brief correction
poum23 | Chicago, Illinois United States | 09/16/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"While this should not be understood as an apology for anything Zizek proclaims in the documentary, something he would by the way surely reject, it seems necessary to make a correction to the categorization of Zizek himself as a Stalinist.
One of the things that bugged Zizek most about making this documentary (or so he says at least) is the general attitude with which the viewer approaches the film, namely attempting to search for the private, nice person behind the theorist Zizek. We watch the film and expect to come out of it with some convenient, intimate truths about Zizek that then form the basis of us trying to relate to him. As Zizek says time and again in the film, he would rather be seen as a monster and actively tries to frustrate the viewer looking for paparazzi-info on his person. Certain sequences and items in the film were hence deliberately placed to create this effect, playing with the expectations of the reader. Some of those scenes include: Zizek in bed (where we can cleary see how he ridicules the sensationalist-tabloidist gaze of the viewer), the toilet arrangement and, importantly, the Stalin picture and its discussion.
Zizek surely cannot be characterized as a theorist who uncomplicatedly embraces Stalinism. He is, however, known to give it serious, often controversial consideration many people shy away from in order to arrive at a serious examination of the potential for totalitarianism in times of neoliberalism. The film expresses this quite nicely at times and is, purely for that reason, definitely worth seeing."
Alot of fun!
Denise J. Mcpherson | Binghamton, NY | 01/24/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I loved this movie! If you want to watch a theoretical mad-hatter at play, you must get a copy of this. Zizek announces to us what we've all thought at one time or another but were afraid to voice. Love him or hate him, agree or disagree, you will not walk away from this movie - or one of his texts - without being both provoked and entertained (not a small feet in our turgid times). I especially enjoyed his playful yet honest jabs at deconstruction. Zizek is a must read/see in our perverse culture of late capitalism."
A great point of contact with Zizek
D. Cederberg | Massachusetts | 03/08/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Watch the movie for a new understanding when reading Zizek's books. In short, Zizek's writings are more accessible to me for having experienced the human Zizek in this movie. Though he says in the film "I am not human; I am a monster," the human Zizek is still apparent. For me that is important. In "Good Will Hunting", the Matt Damon character claims that one does not need Harvard when a Boston Public Library Card is enough. I find this false--we must be engaged by more than paper and ink. To encounter the author in bodily form, as we do in this film (with Zizek in the role of pedagogue), touches the learner more profoundly. Having voice, emotion, facial expressions at my disposal when I read Zizek greatly enhances the reading.

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