Cultural thirst: a collection of Slavoj Žižek’s favourite movies

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Sometimes known as something of a pop philosopher, Slavoj Žižek has practically transcended the role of the cultural theorist with a sense of celebrity that he undoubtedly reviles. It’s Žižek’s ability to infuse his theoretical analyses with a pop culture sensibility, though, that has afforded him such a status.

It’s well known that Žižek has a deep love for film’s history and cultural importance. He has provided countless analyses of some of the most significant pieces of cinema to have ever been released, showing a theorist with a deep interest in art in all its forms.

When Žižek had the good fortune of visiting the legendary Criterion closet to take home some prized DVDs, he named some of his favourite movies of all time. His selections revealed a man with a deep fascination for the medium of cinema itself, and the films spanned across the 20th century and into the 21st.

The history works of Roberto Rossellini, including The Age of the Medici, Cartesius and Blaise Pascal, are of particular interest to Žižek, who noted, “Rossellini’s history films, I prefer them. These late, long, boring TV movies. I think that the so-called great Rossellinis, for example, German Year Zero and so on, they no longer really work. I think this is the Rossellini to be rehabilitated.”

It’s well known that Žižek has a deep love for Charlie Chaplin and, particularly, his 1931 film City Lights, which Žižek calls “One of the greatest movies of all time”. Chaplin plays his famous Tramp character, who falls in love with a blind girl and begins a problematic friendship with an alcoholic millionaire.

Carl Theodor Dreyer is another director for whom Žižek has an undying fondness for, picking out his films Day of Wrath, Ordet and Gertrud. “It’s more out of my love for Denmark,” the theorist said. “It’s nice to know that in the 1920s and 1930s, Denmark was already a cinematic superpower.”

Elsewhere, there are films by the likes of Peter Weier, Louis Malle and Jaromil Jireš, and Ang Lee’s 1997 film The Ice Storm makes its way onto the list, too, owing to Žižek’s “personal connection” to the film. “When James Schamus was writing the scenario,” he explained, “he told me he was reading a book of mine and that my theoretical book was inspiration.”

David Lean’s version of Charles Dicken’s Great Expectations novel crops up, as Žižek is simply a “great fan” of the legendary English writer. The list is rounded off by films made by the likes of Lars von Trier, Alfonso Cuaron, Ernst Lubitsch and Alexander Mackendrick, proving Žižek’s deep love for the cinematic medium.

Check out the full list of Slavoj Žižek’s favourite movies below.

Slavoj Žižek’s favourite movies:

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