This is the second documentary in a year on the cultural critic, humanistic psychoanalyst and, since the death of Jacques Derrida, best new candidate for global ‘rock star’ philosopher, Slavoj Zizek. Not as entertaining, nor as substantial, as Zizek’s recent meditation on Hitchcock, Lynch, et al, ‘The Pervert’s Guide to Cinema’, Astra Taylor’s tome manages to follow the bear-like, lisping, sibilant-rich Slovenian on his international speaking tour, at his publisher (Verso), at lunch, in bed (without pyjamas!) and at home in Ljubljana playing soldiers with his son without, seemingly, once interrupting his continuous logorrheic torrent of talk, insights, ideas, aphorisms, jokes and exclamations. Philosophically, it may be cursory and superficial – understandably, Taylor goes light on the neo-Marxist hermeneutics and post-Structuralist Lacanism – but it does give some idea of Zizek’s polymathic intellectual range, infectious enthusiasm and combatorial (super)egotism. Still, it’s hard to distinguish the intellectual from the clown. Take his quoted three favourites movies – ‘Ivan the Terrible’, ‘The Fountainhead’ and anti-semite Vert Harlan’s Nazi-era ‘Opfergang’. Is he serious? Or being patronisingly provocative?
Friday May 4 2007