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The media’s love-in with “the wild man of theory”, the Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek, continues with this documentary about the bear/clown himself. Starting with Zizek’s rhetorical question, “What would be my spontaneous attitude towards the Universe”, Astra Taylor’s film continues in a playful vein through a US lecture tour and ends up back in Zizek’s Ljubljana home, where he waxes philosophical from the bedroom, the kitchen, even the bathroom on whatever pops into his wildly fermenting head – Hitchcock, plastic water bottles, the state of toilets in the US. This sort of photogenic posturing explains why Zizek has become the pin-up philosopher of our time – he’s not only the most media-friendly thinker, but the most media-savvy. He’s also, and he probably knows it, a lot of people’s stereotyped view of an academic philosopher – dishevelled, bearded, a thickly accented sibilant way of talking, and prone to wild flights of rhetorical fancy which can be as abstruse as they are funny. Who wouldn’t be smitten; it certainly looks as if Astra Taylor’s increasingly adoring camera is. Paddlers in the shallows of late-capitalist theory will find Zizek! enjoyable and stimulating, those who have already digested and moved on from the Lacanian notion that the cultural imperative to enjoy ourselves meshes perfectly with Marx’s idea of surplus value might well wonder what all the fuss is about.

Zizek! – at Amazon

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© Steve Morrissey 2007

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