The Symbolic, the Sublime, and Slavoj Zizeks Theory of Film

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Slavoj Zizek analyses Batman The Dark Knight

Follow us. But even so there were patients who had traversed the fantasy and obtained distance from the fantasy-framework of their reality but whose key symptom still persisted. Lacan tried to answer this challenge with the concept of the sinthome. The word sinthome in French is a fifteenth- and sixteenthcentury way of writing the modern word symptome symptom.

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By suggesting a word that is derived from an archaic form of writing L acan also shifts the inflection of the term to the letter rather than the signifier as message to be deciphered. The letter as the site where meaning becomes undone is, for Lacan , a primary inscription of subjectivity.

Zizek and Media Studies

The pronunciation sinthome in French also produces the associations of saint homme holy man and synth-homme synthetic [artificial] man. When it occurs, a symptom causes discomfort and displeasure; nevertheless, we embrace its interpretation with pleasure. But why, in spite of its interpretation, does the symptom not dissolve itself? Why does it persist? The answer, of course, is enjoyment.

The symptom is not only a ciphered message; it is a way for the subject to organize his or her enjoyment. Treatment is not strictly speaking directed towards the symptom. The symptom is what the subject must cling to since it is what uniquely characterizes him or her.

The Symbolic, the Sublime, and Slavoj Žižek's Theory of Film

The existence of an old lady is understood, or made to pass, as a hallucination of the central character Iris. Iris is returning to London to be married to a boring father figure whom she does not love. His name, Lord Charles Fotheringale, tells us everything. Iris in fact is the woman who, according to Lacanian theory, does not exist. At the end Iris falls for Gilbert Michael Redgrave , who throughout the film has played the role of naughty child without a father. How can we interpret this motif? These figures are not symbols but, on the other hand, they are not insignificant details of individual films; they persist across a number of Hitchcock films.

They designate the limit of interpretation, they resist interpretation; they fix or tie together a certain core of enjoyment.

The Symbolic, the Sublime, and Slavoj Zizek's Theory of Film by Matthew Flisfeder

Zizek pursues the difference between the early structuralist Lacan of the s and the late Lacan of the fundamental recalcitrance of the Real of the s on. The Lacanian concept of the Real — the most under-represented component of the triad of the Real, the Symbolic and the Imaginary4 — provides another way to approach that which cannot be spoken drawn into the Symbolic , because it eludes the ability of the ontological subject to signify it.

For Zizek, material contained within the pre-ontological, like abject material, can and does emerge into the ontological sphere and once there, however troubling or traumatic, it is made meaning of. Nevertheless, despite its irruption into the film text, the Real resists every attempt to render it meaningful and those elements that inhabit it continually elude signification.

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As such, it is a version of the mythic creature called by Lacan the lamella. In its materializations the lamella marks an Otherness beyond intersubjectivity. This amoeba-like flattened creature that envelops the face stands for irrepressible life beyond all the finite forms that are merely its representatives.


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In later scenes of the film the alien is able to assume a multitude of different shapes; it is immortal and indestructible. The Real of the lamella is an entity of pure surface without density, an infinitely plastic object that can change its form. Spara som favorit. Skickas inom vardagar. Film, media, and cultural theorists have long appealed to Lacanian theory in order to discern processes of subjectivization, representation, and ideological interpellation.

Here, the contributors take up a Zizekian approach to studies of cinema and media, raising questions about power, ideology, sexual difference, and enjoyment. Passar bra ihop. The Symbolic, the Sublime, and Slavoj Zizek's Theory of Film Matthew Flisfeder Returning to questions about ideology and subjectivity, Flisfeder argues that Slavoj Zizek's theory of film aims to re-politicize film studies and film theory, bringing cinema into the fold of twenty-first century politics. Postmodern Theory and Blade Runner Matthew Flisfeder Matthew Flisfeder introduces readers to key concepts in postmodern theory and demonstrates how it can be used for a critical interpretation and analysis of Blade Runner, arguably 'the greatest science fiction film'.

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