The Pervert's Guide to Ideology

Synopsis: The sequel to The Pervert's Guide to Cinema sees the reunion of brilliant philosopher Slavoj Zizek with filmmaker Sophie Fiennes, now using their inventive interpretation of moving pictures to examine ideology - the collective fantasies that shape our beliefs and practices.
Genre: Documentary
Director(s): Sophie Fiennes
Actors: Slavoj Zizek
Production: Zeitgeist Films
  2 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
136 min

I'm giving you a choice:

either put on these glasses

or start eating that trashcan.

I already am eating from

the trashcan all the time.

The name of this trashcan

is ideology.

The material force

of ideology

makes me not see

what I'm effectively eating.

It's not only our reality

which enslaves us.

The tragedy of

our predicament

when we are within

ideology, is that

when we think that we

escape it into our dreams -

at that point we

are within ideology.

They Live from 1988

is definitely one of the

forgotten masterpieces

of the Hollywood left.

It tells the story of

John Nada.

'Nada' of course is Spanish

means 'nothing'.

A pure subject, deprived

of all substantial content.

A homeless worker in L.A.

who, drifting around

one day enters into

an abandoned church

and finds there a strange

box full of sunglasses.

And when he put one of them on,

walking along the L.A. streets

he discovers

something weird:

that these glasses function like

critique-of-ideology glasses.

They allow you to see

the real message beneath:

all the propaganda, publicity

glitz, posters and so on.

You see a large publicity

board telling you

have your holiday

of a lifetime

and when you

put the glasses on

you just see just on the white

background a gray inscription.

We live, so we are told,

in a post-ideological society.

We are interpolated,

that is to say

addressed by

social authority

not as subjects who should

do their duty, sacrifice themselves

but subjects of pleasures.

Realise your true potential.

Be yourself.

Lead a satisfying life.

When you put the

glasses on

you see dictatorship

in democracy.

It's the invisible order which

sustains your apparent freedom.

The explanation for the existence

of these strange ideology glasses

is the standard story of the

Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

Humanity is already under

the control of aliens.

Hey buddy!

You gonna pay for that or what?

Look buddy, I don't want

no hassle today.

Either pay for it

or put it back.

According to our common sense

we think that ideology is

something blurring, confusing

our straight view.

Ideology should be glasses

which distort our view,

and the critique of ideology

should be the opposite -

like, you take off the glasses

so that you can finally see

the way things really are.

This precisely, and here

the pessimism of

the film, of They Live

is well justified, this precisely

is the ultimate illusion:

ideology is not simply

imposed on ourselves.

Ideology is our spontaneous

relationship to our social world -

how we perceive each meaning

and so on and so on.

We in a way

enjoy our ideology.

All right.

To step out of ideology -

it hurts.

It's a painful experience.

You must force yourself to do it.

This is rendered in a

wonderful way with

a further scene in the film

where John Nada tries to force

his best friend, John Armitage

to also put the glasses on.

- I don't want to fight you.

- Come on!

- I don't want to fight you.

- Come on!

- Stop it!

- No!

And it's the weirdest

scene in the film.

The fight takes eight,

nine minutes.

Put on the glasses!

It may appear irrational

because why does this guy

reject so violently to

put the glasses on?

It is as if he is well aware

that spontaneously he lives

in a lie. That the glasses

will make him see the truth,

but that this truth

can be painful.

Can shatter many

of your illusions.

This is a paradox

we have to accept.

Put the glasses on!

Put 'em on!

The extreme violence

of liberation.

You must be forced

to be free.

If you trust simply your

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    "The Pervert's Guide to Ideology" STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 20 Oct. 2020. <>.

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