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Cinephile Report @ TIFF: A Pervert's Guide To Cinema

Does anyone remember when the Cinematheque in Paris was shut down causing protests and riots in the 60's?

I miss the time when film was considered such an radical part of the human expression through art and was a medium to be constantly analyzed, discussed and dissected by great film theorists like Andre Bazin. These theorists weren't concerned about stars, thumbs or any other ratings but chose an academic high road in understanding how the medium breathes and functions not simplifying things for sound bites and in turn became famous, respected and timeless.

Sophie Finnes's documentaryA Pervert's Guide To Cinema harkens back to the days where classic films burned with undiscovered dialogues waiting to be tapped by thirsty minds.

Bringing in noted film theorist and psychoanalyst Slavoj Zizek to disassemble films from both a classic film theory perspective and a psychoanalytical desire driven mind set, A Pervert's Guide to Cinema is a radical new way of discussing and appreciating film that could very well be the catalyst for changing how we watch films and guide the future of film theory into the next generation.

Slavoj Zizek is a man of many words, opinions and theories all of which unfold in the film like a life changing lecture that one feels lucky to have caught in their life. It's his analysis of films like The Birds, Vertigo, The Exorcist, Psycho, The Conversation, and Blue Velvet that build the core of his ideas in such a way that as the three parts of the film unfold our mind begins to understand how to form an entirely new platform of analysis in reference to film.

How much stronger does Eyes Wide Shut become as a exploration of stunted male desire in the face of the overwhelming intensity of female fantasy? It's in some of the doc's unique choices of clips like the "Alien Resurrection" mutated clone sequence that prove the film goes over the standard critical "respect" limitations often found in theory discussions to the core of what moves us and what these movements represent in terms of the human psyche.

Zizek is often hilarious and holds us in his headspace perfectly while visiting actual locations or sets from the films he brings up, giving the film enough visual flare and personality to avoid talking head syndrome.

Speaking with director Sophie Finnes for almost an hour after the screening we began to wonder why film theory is on the decline, why it isn't what it was when Bazin was the bible for every film student not Entertainment Weekly and why our generation is so unable to file our own films and cultural products as classic.

Finnes and Zizek together have made the strongest effort to reclaim dying film theory and have unintentionally provided us with new eccentric figure who delights in pushing our buttons, challenging our perspective, writing the future of modern cinema and earning our respect.


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