Notes: The pervert's guide to cinema

Zella 2022-10-17 03:57:19

-Freudian understanding of fantasies in sex

Usually, people read the lesson of Freudian psychoanalysis as if the secret meaning of everything is sexuality. But this is not what Freud wants to say. I think Freud wants to say the exact opposite. It's not that everything is a metaphor for sexuality, that whatever we are doing, we are always thinking about that. The Freudian question is, but what are we thinking when we are doing that?
In sexuality, it's never only me and my partner, there has to be always some phantasmatic element. There has to be some third imagined element, which makes it possible for me, which enables me to engage in sexuality. If I may be a little bit impertinent and relate to an unfortunate experience, probably known to most of us, how it happens that while one is engaged in sexual activity, all of a sudden one feels stupid, one loses contact with it. As if 'my god, why am I doing these stupid repetitive movements?' Nothing changes in reality, in these strange moments where I, as it were, disconnect. I lose the phantasmatic support.

-Differences between men and women in sexual activities

We men, at least in our standard phallogocentric mode of sexuality, even when we are doing it with the real woman, we are effectively doing it with our fantasy, women are reduced to a masturbatory prop. Woman arouses us in so far as she enters our fantasy frame.
With women, it's different. The true enjoyment is not in doing it but in telling about it afterward. Of course, women enjoy sex immediately, but maybe while they are doing it, they already enact or incorporate this minimal narrative distance so that they are already observing themselves and narrativizing it.

-Sexuality, from pornography to cinema

Although sexuality seems to be about bodies, it's not really about bodies. It's how a bodily activity is reported in words. The ultimate sexual seduction resides in words. The strange tension, and at the same time interconnection, between reality and fantasy, we can get it at its purest in the strange case of pornography. Pornography is a deeply conservative genre. It's not a genre where everything is permitted. It's a genre based on the fundamental prohibition.
It's as if our inner psychic space is too wild and sometimes we have to make love, not to get the real thing but to escape from the real, from the excessive real that we encounter in our fantasizing.
The point is the fragile balance between reality and fantasy dimension in our sexual activity. The notion of fantasy in psychoanalysis is very ambiguous. On the one hand, we have the pacifying aspect of fantasy. Fantasy as the explosion of wild unbearable desires. When fantasy disintegrates, you don't get reality, you get some nightmarish real, too traumatic to be experienced as ordinary reality.
One cannot just throw out the dirty water, all these excessive perverse fantasies and so on, and just keep the healthy clean baby: normal, straight, homosexual, whatever, but some kind of normal politically correct sex. You cannot do that. What if we throw out the baby and keep just the dirty water.
This is the most terrifying loss, where all the co-ordinates of your reality disintegrate. The problem is how to reconstitute yourself. The problem, of course, is this fantasy reconstituted, is this the ultimate horizon of our experience?
It is through such ontology of unfinished reality that cinema became a truly modern art.

-Communist austerity, terror and musicals

The answer is the psychoanalytic notion of the superego. Superego is not only excessive terror, unconditional junction, the demand of utter sacrifice, but at the same time, obscenity, laughter.

-Chaplin's CITY LIGHTs

And I think that this is the metaphor of our predicament. All too often, when we love somebody, we don't accept him or her as what the person effectively is. We accept him or her insofar as this person fits the coordinates of our fantasy. We misidentify, wrongly identify him or her, which is why when we discover that we were wrong, love can quickly turn into violence. There is nothing more dangerous or lethal for the loved person than to be loved, as it were, for not what he or she is, but for fitting the ideal. In this case, love is always mortifying love.
This moment is always extremely dangerous and pathetic. The beloved falls out of the frame of the idealized coordinates, finally there exposed in his psychological nakedness. "Here I am as what I really am."


In order to understand today's world, we need the cinema, literally. It's only I cinema that we get that crucial dimension which we are not ready to confront in our reality. If you are looking for what is, in reality, more real than reality itself, look into the cinematic fiction.

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The Pervert's Guide to Cinema quotes

  • Slavoj Zizek: I think this is what liberation means. In order to attack the enemy, you first have to beat the shit out of yourself. To get rid, in yourself, of that which in yourself attaches you to the leader, to the conditions of slavery, and so on and so on.

  • Slavoj Zizek: When we spectators are sitting in a movie theatre, looking at the screen... You remember, at the very beginning, before the picture is on, it's a black, dark screen, and then light thrown on. Are we basically not staring into a toilet bowl and waiting for things to reappear out of the toilet? And is the entire magic of a spectacle shown on the screen not a kind of deceptive lure, trying to conceal the fact that we are basically watching shit, as it were?