The Couch and the Silver Screen: Psychoanalytic Reflections on European Cinema

The Couch and the Silver Screen: Psychoanalytic Reflections on European Cinema

The Couch and the Silver Screen: Psychoanalytic Reflections on European Cinema

The Couch and the Silver Screen: Psychoanalytic Reflections on European Cinema

Synopsis

The only book that focuses on psychoanalysis and European cinemaContains transcripts of live debates among film directors, actors, critics and psychoanalysts

Excerpt

It is fascinating to see the way in which the innovative and exciting First European Psychoanalytic Film Festival has evolved into a volume that not only maintains the diversity of the original event but also coheres into thematic sections that create, once again, their own internal dialogues. While the contributors are united by their collective interest in psychoanalysis, the volume brings together a wide range of approaches and professional perspectives. The driving concept behind both the event and the book was to provide a forum for interaction between practising psychoanalysts, film directors and actors, film critics, academics and theorists. These differing professional perspectives also embrace differing schools of psychoanalytic practice and film theory. Ideas and concerns are approached from different directions and then work in unexpected ways to create lines of thought and thematic threads from contribution to contribution. But the book has another kind of diversity built into it. The opening part leads the reader in, as though through a fascinating threshold, with a series of discussions between directors, analysts and critics which include contributions from members of the audience. A sense of lively debate, of disagreements and sudden insights gives the book a texture that is very much its own.

From my personal point of view, the decision to concentrate on European cinema is of special interest. My own critical background was influenced by the intense relationship forged by Seventies feminist film theory with psychoanalytic theory and Hollywood cinema. Feminist interest in Hollywood emerged in response to certain characteristics, or even defining obsessions, that marked the collective culture of its cinema. Gender definition, sexual iconography, the emblematic representation of femininity refracted through the star system, as well as Oedipal drama, the melodrama and motherhood, and so on, all preoccupied feminist psychoanalytic film theory. However, the focus on European cinema produces motifs and themes that lead to a very different psychic world.

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