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Western University
Film Studies
Film Studies 1020E
Barbara Bruce

Week 14 - Introduction to Psychoanalytic and Feminist Film Theories lecture outline: - 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 screenwriters 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)  Christian Metz - 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 subservient. • revealing that “the unconscious of patriarchal society has structured film form” (Mulvey, “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema” 342)  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 theories. Mulvey Misogynistic, “demonstrate the way that the patriotic society has shaped film form” 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.  cinema 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 the imaginary.
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