Old Letters Turned into Riveting Film

Article excerpt


MY NAME WAS SABINA SPIELREIN. Directed by Elisabeth Marton, with Eva Osterberg, Lasse Almeback and Mercedes Csampai.


It's not easy to sustain cinematic interest in a bunch of old letters written by people who died during the last century. Amazingly, however, director Elisabeth Morton pulls it off with her full-length docu-feature on the underrated psychoanalyst Sabina Spielrein.

My name was Sabina Spielrein concentrates primarily on the correspondence between Spielrein, her former doctor turned lover Carl Jung, and colleague Sigmund Freud in the years building up to the first and then second World Wars.

The material is based on an extraordinary collection of letters and diaries discovered in a basement in Switzerland in 1977, which revealed the hitherto unknown relationship between Spielrein, Jung and Freud.

The film also poses a question as to how much of Freud and Jung's ideas were original, and how much they owed to Spielrein. Of course, she was to die unknown, while the two men are remembered with reverence.

The story begins when, as a troubled Russian teenager, the daughter of wealthy Jewish parents, Spielrein was sent to a mental asylum in Switzerland. Here she became Jung's first patient. …