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LIVE from the NYPL: They Live! Hollywood as an Ideological Machine: A Lecture-Performance by Slavoj Žižek

March 12, 2008

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  • Why did the dinosaurs attack in Jurassic Park?   
  • Why do historical events like The October Revolution happen?  
  • Why do asteroids hit the Earth?

Hollywood has the answer: either to create a couple or to find a father. And, surprisingly, the Stalinist cinema concurs, as we can see from The Fall of Berlin, the Soviet equivalent to Warren Beatty's Reds. Family ideology is alive and well today, in our allegedly post-ideological era. So, as an antidote, it is perhaps time to revisit forgotten Hollywood masterpieces, from John Frankenheimer's Seconds to John Carpenter's They Live.

photo by : Steve Pyke


Slavoj Žižek, philosopher and psychoanalyst with three basic orientations: a Hegelian in philosophy, a Lacanian in psychoanalysis, a Christian materialist in religion, and a Communist in politics. Arguably the only living philosopher who uses positively the terms "dialectical materialism" and "dictatorship of the proletariat", his work triggers continuous controversy: Welcome to the Desert of the Real, his analysis of 9/11, was attacked as anti-Semitic in Israel and as Zionist in Egypt. In his numerous books, he always returns to Hollywood - good cinema is for Žižek a school of critical dialectics for the uneducated masses.

About Slavoj Žižek

Slavoj Žižek, dialectical-materialist philosopher and psychoanalyst, is Co-Director of the International Center for Humanities, Birkbeck College, University of London. Among his latest publications are The Parallax View, How To Read Lacan, Enjoy Your Symptom!: Jacques Lacan in Hollywood and Out, For They Know Not What They Do: Enjoyment as a Political Factor, and, in April 2008, In Defense of Lost Causes.


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At the 62 th minutes of the video, Žižek talk about a great master of the american cinema. Robert ...Oldmann How do you write its name? Thanks.

Robert Altman.