The Great Beauty (La grande bellezza) examines the profligate life of Jep Gambardella (Toni Servillo), now entering his golden years and trying to fondly remember the years passed. Director Paolo Sorrentino has previously helmed acclaimed films like Il divo and This Must Be the Place. The Great Beauty is on a short list of currently foreign films destined for glory.
The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology unwinds like a master’s level monologue where Marxist theory, film history and psychoanalytical interpretation of “the other” merge into the most word heavy ideologue since certain Godard films (like La Chinoise). Don’t get the wrong idea – this lecture isn’t boring but rather illuminating, especially if you actually like and watch cinema. After all, this is a film that starts out discussing They Live and ends up dissecting Zabriskie Point. Between that over two dozen films as well as cultural signposts of our own time are put under the microscope.
Slavoj Žižek leads us through the wilderness of thought while viewing culture from a slightly skewed political or religious prism. Sophie Fiennes, sister of Ralph, directs. In addition to the films expect references to Coke commercials, Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy,” Starbucks® and the band Rammstein, hysteria, the recent Occupy movement, and Abu Ghraib.
Films that Žižek discourses on include: The Sound of Music, A Clockwork Orange, West Side Story, Taxi Driver, The Searchers, Jaws, Triumph of the Will, The Eternal Jew, Cabaret, I Am Legend, Titanic, Oratorio For Prague, the Soviet film The Fall of Berlin, Full Metal Jacket, M*A*S*H, If…., The Dark Knight, The Loves of a Blonde, The Fireman’s Ball, Brief Encounter, Brazil, The Last Temptation of Christ, and Seconds. You’ll probably want to see this film more than once.
The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology plays the next two Sundays, January 12 and 19, at 5 pm. The Great Beauty plays Friday and Saturday, January 10 and 11, at 7 pm.
- Michael Bergeron