A Pervert’s Favourite Films

Slavoj Zizek spills the somewhat messy beans on his favourite films for The Criterion Collection. Classic Zizek: illuminating, amusing, bemusing and somehow a bit annoying. Interesting to hear what he says about liking Criterion for the bonus features it provides, in particular the commentaries, saying that he often prefers these to the films themselves – a statement which is in direct contrast to one made by a top, oscar-winning director in our shop a month or so ago who wanted to buy some BFI blu-ray films by Pasolini, only to balk at the price. When it was pointed out to him that the BFI put together a fantastic package of additional material, he said he’d rather just pay a fiver for the film and not bother with the notes… It occurred to me to suggest that perhaps his own films might be only worth a fiver, but that actually someone like Pasolini was worth investing in and whilst his own films – perhaps with one exception – aren’t especially note-worthy, the same can’t be said for PASOLINI for christsake. Funny that one of his films should be mentioned by Zizek here.. Hmm. Whoever could I mean?  Anyway, here’s Zizek being considerably more generous:




Zizek: for its critique of capitalism.

Alternatives: Frank Capra’s ‘You Can’t Take it With You’, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ and ‘Meet John Doe’. Also, Charlie Chaplin’s ‘Modern Times’. For something a bit more..obscure, try Pasolini’s ‘Porcile‘ (‘PIGSTY’) (1969).


Zizek: for its depiction of the corruption of the American press.

Alternatives: Noam Chomsky’s ‘ Manufacturing Consent’, Frank Capra’s ‘ Meet John Doe’ and Billy Wilder’s ‘ Ace in the Hole‘ (1951).








Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)


Ordet (1955)



The Age of the Medici (1973)

Alternative Rossellinis: the film that brought neorealism to the attention of the world:’Rome, Open City‘ (1946). Also, ‘Journey to Italy’ (1953), starring his then wife, Ingrid Bergman who was blacklisted by Hollywood for her affair with the director ( both were married at the time it began).


“Otherwise a failure.”




Pervert’s Guide to the Cinema (2006) – dir. Sophie Fiennes.

posted by Dixie Turner

New Additions (Old Films We Should Have Had Before, But Didn’t):

RO.GO.PA.G.(Let’s Wash Our Brains):

RO.sselliniGO.dardPA.soliniG.regoretti. Four short films, written and directed by four of the greatest directors of their (or any) generation. The programme, entitled Laviamoci il cervello (Let’s Wash Our Brains) presents a shared dissatisfaction with modernity on the part of the directors and, more specifically, a concern about the impact of various social factors and trends – which they perceived as disturbing or dangerous – on the modern mind and character.

It is worth noting that the film caused a scandal on its released (though not in Britain, as it was not distributed here), for its portrayal of Christ crucified (and the Virgin Mary strip-tease) in the Pasolini segment, La Ricotta. La Ricotta portrays a destitute man who has been enlisted to play Christ by a Marxist film director (played by Orson Welles). The actor, poor and hungry, gives his food rations to his family and continues to starve until, finally, he gets his hands on a large quantity of ricotta on which he gorges himself before finally dying of indigestion on the cross… On the film’s release, Pasolini was arrested and spent four months in jail. Wash your brains on that.


Pasolini (5/3/22 – 2/11/75)

Drawing by Dixie Turner

Director, poet, writer, intellectual, journalist and political figure, Pier Paolo Pasolini would be turning 90 on March 5th. If you’ve not seen any of his films we recommend you begin with Mama Roma. For the more daring viewer, Theorem, or Medea (starring Maria Callas). And for you, the most depraved, Salo.

Below is an essay written by Video City’s resident film theorist William Goodey. Read with joy and fear.

Scrittore Scomodo: Pasolini, Poetry, and the Language of Cinema


William Goodey

for Pasolini at Ninety,


Ah, my recidivist passions

forced not to have a dwelling!

– Pier Paolo Pasolini, The Search for a Home

In theorising cinema’s relation to the fields of poetry and narrative prose, one must resist the temptation to think things along a straight line. Placing poetry and narrative prose at diametric odds with one another necessitates the invention of a limited spectrum into which cinema must inevitably fall, whether that is closer to one end or the other. The temptation to set them up as oppositional categories arises from the dominant preconceptions of either’s characteristic set of qualities. These can be exampled through the number of binary pairs that correlate with the poetry/narrative prose coupling; for instance – artistic/commercial, experimental/conventional, evocative/straight-forward, difficult/easy. These are doubtlessly subjective and could equally be discarded, exchanged or reversed; in any case, what is important is that these preconceptions are directly related to perceptions of the forms’ general style(s). In order to better understand cinema’s proximity to poetry or narrative prose and surmount this problem of subjectivity and generality, a greater degree of rigour and structure is required.

(Continued in comment)