Week 14 - Introduction to Psychoanalytic and Feminist Film Theories
- film and psychoanalysis
prevalence of psychoanalytic theories in the twentieth century
Sigmund Freud, Jacques Lacan, Carl Jung
These two were highly influential on thought during their time. Postmodern theorists
attacked these theories, but their theories remained dominant.
1895: Lumière Bros. discovered the film projector and had the screening
and Freud’s Studies on Hysteria
film has a dream like quality. Last only as long as you are in the dark
watching the movie. (like sleeping and waking up) Hollywood used
to be called the dream factory.
Freud read his patients dreams, and people began to apply this to
films, film critiques watched films to understand the cultural aspect
to them. Whether a dream or a film, there is never a right reading.
Always an interpretation.
Freud was offered a lot of money to write a screenplay but he declined the offer.
influence of psychoanalysis (quacks or villans) on filmmakers and
Similar themes between films and psychoanalysis: love, death, family and the analysis can be
extremely in depth.
Different kinds: nationalism, transnationalism etc.
1950’s is when psychoanalysis started to appear more often. Started in the British era before it
was introduced into America.
history of psychoanalytic film theory
Cahiers du cinema (France) and Screen (Britain)
- feminist film theory
second-wave feminism (white middle aged high class women) (1960s to
1980s) remarkably diverse and complex
women in the academy
challenging the white, western, middle-class male “universal”
Molly Haskell, Laura Mulvey – questioned how women were
represented in film. Analyze how western cinema rendered women
• revealing that “the unconscious of patriarchal society has
structured film form” (Mulvey, “Visual Pleasure and Narrative
expansion of feminist film theory – reading against the grain of a film
• spectator studies
• semiotics, Marxism, psychoanalysis
• genre films
• third-wave feminism (LGBTQ) expanded to class and grace
o women of colour o diverse class perspectives
- Laura Mulvey (apparently really hard), “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema”
she appropriates psychoanalytic theory “as a political weapon,
demonstrating the way the unconscious of patriarchal society has
structured film form” (342) the founding document of psychoanalytic
Misogynistic, “demonstrate the way that the patriotic society has shaped film
The world revolves around the fact men are better than women.
phallocentrism – the phallic (penis) is the symbol of the masculine.
Specifically the energy that comes out of sexuality.
Women is define by her lack of a penis. She is conceived as powerless
in the world of men. IT depends on the image on the women to give
order and meaning to her world. The penis is important because
not everybody in the world has a penis. If we all had it nobody
would care. Men have a penis so they are more important.
Women desire to have a penis (penis envy) faced with the impossibility
of attaining a penis.
We are shaped by the symbolic world, we are determined by the
patriotic world in which we live.
Shaped by the world around us: media, church, school, peers etc. we
are shaped from without and not from within.
To understand the nature of being trapped in the man’s world.
Through its visual pleasure, it affirms subjects positions under the patriarch.
woman as erotic spectacle comes from Hollywood. And in doing so
offers the male subject the brief relief of alienation/castration which
the women normally gives.
When we are young we don’t differentiate ourselves from others, we
simply exist. In this stage the infant has a sense of coherence.
When the infant recognizes itself for the first time, this is when their
sense of self begins to develop. The mirror becomes symbolic for