HEROES: Slavoj Žižek interviews Ralph Fiennes

HEROES: Slavoj Žižek interviews Ralph Fiennes

Join us for a meeting of minds that is truly one of a kind. Philosopher, psychoanalyst and maverick cultural critic Slavoj Žižek meets actor and director Ralph Fiennes. 

Throughout 2017, The School of Life will host a unique series of live events called HEROES, in which we explore how people influence and learn from one another. We invite a central figure of our times to nominate a personal hero from a different field – a cultural icon whose work they have long admired from afar. Then we bring the pair together on stage for a rich and unique conversation. 

With an instantly recognisable shaggy dog image and a fanatical global following, Slavoj Žižek is ‘the most dangerous philosopher in the west’ (New Republic), known equally for his outspoken and provocative insights into global affairs and his highly original dissections of popular culture – from the Freudian undercurrents of Hitchcock’s Psycho to the imperial overtones of James Cameron’s Avatar. He brings his unique genius to The School of Life to interview an actor renowned for the moral and psychological complexity of his roles: Ralph Fiennes. 

From Schindler’s List to The Grand Budapest Hotel, Ralph Fiennes inhabits his roles absolutely, subverting Hollywood hero-villain stereotypes to create compelling characters full of hidden desires and lurking possibilities – in short, real fleshed-out human beings. His eyes suggest souls in torment, hiding beneath a polished exterior of disarming charm that might easily, as Steven Spielberg once observed, ‘cut off and become a deadly calm.’ In conversation, Žižek and Fiennes will investigate the deeper emotions, ideas and psychological forces at work in performances ranging from Harry Potter’s Lord Voldemort to The English Patient’s Count Almasy. "I get angry easily but I sit on it, repress it,” Fiennes says, “I have learned that anger is not cool, it is ugly, even though it might feel momentarily cathartic." 

Join us as we venture deeper beneath the surface of this serious-minded and highly sophisticated actor, guided by one of the most outspoken and celebrated philosophers of the age. 


Across a host of beautiful venues in central London, leading thinkers from the UK and abroad join TSOL’s Faculty in conversation to share their wisdom for living well. Speakers for this strand have been invited by The School of Life to present their own material. Session formats will vary depending on the subject.


Emmanuel Centre
9-23 Marsham St

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