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The Pervert's Guide to Ideology

I saw this with my friend, Dave, a couple of weeks ago. The thrust was that every film tries to push an ideology, usually implicitly and sometimes covertly. Most of the ideologies that Slavoj Žižek cites are ones of control and subjugation.

It was interesting to hear his thoughts on the imagery, metaphor, scripting and construction of great films. Which is to say, it was great to hear his thoughts on how interesting films achieve their effects. It made me want to see Jaws, Taxi Driver, If and The Sound of Music again. It made me want to see Brief Encounter, The Searchers, West Side Story, Zabriskie Point and The Last Temptation of Christ for the first time.

But his central thesis, that popular films are pushers of ideologies of control, was like all grand unified theses of popular culture: it has so much material to choose from, and that material is so subjective, it is possible to find evidence for any argument. One can often even see a way to take the same material and argue the precise opposite.

Even less rigorous, he cited The Last Temptation of Christ as the only film that escapes the ideology of control and evangelises for individual freedom. Which sounds suspiciously like another ideology.