Sophie Fiennes’s 2006 film ‘The Pervert’s Guide to Cinema’ made a movie star of charismatic Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek, albeit not of the Ryan Gosling breed. With his salt-and-pepper beard as luxuriant as his Slovenian accent, Žižek’s screen presence is at once crazed and disarming: no matter how outwardly impenetrable his theories, the manic conviction with which he expresses them makes them compelling.
This lengthy but rollicking follow-up may eliminate the word ‘cinema’ from its title, but the formula is much the same. Tackling a range of popular film titles – beginning with John Carpenter’s ‘They Live’, and taking on everything from ‘Cabaret’ to ‘I Am Legend’ – Žižek riffs relentlessly on the ideas and ideologies embodied in each. Hardly any film, it seems, is about what it claims to be about. His take on ‘Titanic’ is particularly disheartening for romantically inclined viewers. It’s exhilarating, even exhausting stuff, though, Fiennes lightens the weight of Žižek’s dense discourse with a welcome scattering of sight gags. He’s a man to be taken seriously, but not averse to donning a nun’s habit – and for that we love him.