Astra Taylor, a young Canadian director, followed Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek, author of The Puppet and the Dwarf: The Perverse Core of Christianity and The Parallax View (forthcoming), on a worldwide tour of his talks and performances in 2003 and 2004. The result is the film “Zizek!", directed by Taylor and distributed by Zeitgeist Films. The film, which includes some of his events from his The Puppet and the Dwarf tour, made it’s debut at the Toronto International Film Festival and will have a brief engagement at the IFC Center in New York beginning on Friday. The film will travel to Seattle, Washington, DC, Columbus, Boston, and Rochester, NY later this fall. In an article in yesterday’s New York Times, Christian Moerk discusses the film and how Taylor got the idea for this project:
If the conventional image of a philosopher is a rumpled, retiring fellow scribbling away in obscurity, a coming documentary on the Slovenian whirlwind Slavoj Zizek will radically change that notion.
Anointed "the Elvis of cultural theory" by The Chronicle of Higher Education, and described on his book jackets as "the giant of Ljubljana," the 58-year-old Mr. Zizek is a jocular, motormouthed theorist whose critical musings on postmodernism and popular culture - rich in deeply spun allusions to the likes of Alfred Hitchcock and David Lynch - are inspired by the French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan.
Reached at his home in Ljubljana, Mr. Zizek said he was aware of his cult status and its effects. "Obviously, I am split," he said of his popularity. "Very simply, it is a horror for me. I cope with it, I put energy into it and try to seduce them," he said. "But I don't trust myself. The moment I stop talking, I have a secret dream that they will discover there is nothing underneath." Lawrence Konner, the Hollywood screenwriter of movies like "Mona Lisa Smile" and several episodes of HBO's "Sopranos," produced "Zizek!" Mr. Konner, executive director of the Documentary Campaign, which produced the film "Persons of Interest," about Muslim detainees, said he was not concerned that the topic might be less than welcoming.
Nor was the director. "This is propaganda for nerds," Ms. Taylor said, tongue firmly in cheek. "I think it's fantastic to reveal the structures of ideology and challenge people. It's a public service."
Mr. Zizek has his own take on what the movie is about. "Who needs philosophy?" he asked. "Now more than ever. Look at this debate about abortion and biogenetics. We all, not just philosophers, have to make decisions in our daily lives."
Click here for more information and to watch a clip of the movie.