The Freud Museum

Events Archive

27 October 2014 - 1 December 2014
Mondays 7-9pm

PROJECTIONS: Beyond Love And Death On The Silver Screen

Six week evening course

Eros, the Ancient Greek word for romantic love, is a key concept in psychoanalytic theory. Influenced by Plato’s Symposium, where love leads to contemplation of the divine, Sigmund Freud named Eros as the life instinct: the expression of sexuality, evolutionary survival and social productivity. Early on, Freud defined erotic impulses as being opposed by the Ego, but later, in the 1920 book Beyond The Pleasure Principle, he placed Eros in contrast to violent death drives and the desire to return to an inorganic state (i.e., Thanatos).

The simultaneously binding and clashing forces of Eros and Thanatos together form an entwined dual system that is the source of all creation. ‘PROJECTIONS: Beyond Love And Death On The Silver Screen’ is a 6-week course exploring representations of the struggle between love and death in the human psyche, tracing the progression of this complex relationship in moving image, from innocent beginnings to suppressed sensual urges, via turbulent, addictive and fatal manifestations of romance, culminating in a passionate embrace with Plato’s ultimate vision of a higher love.

In terms of theoretical constructs, we will examine Freud’s writings on repression, projection, transference, libido, psychosexual development, oedipal attachment, obsessional neurosis, ego identification and the paradox of civilization, with a special focus on cinema as a special way of ‘remembering’ forgotten elements of love by confronting and reorganising the trauma of loss. 

We will consider the following topics and movies in the course – advance viewing of feature films is optional, short scenes and video montages will be screened during weekly sessions:

Week 1 – FORMATIVE ENCOUNTERS: ROMANTIC RITES OF PASSAGE Blue Is The Warmest Colour, Twilight, Heartbeats, Breathless, Romeo and Juliet, Harold And Maude

Week 2 – NEUROTICA: OBSESSIONAL AVOIDANCE OF LOVE The Birds, Manhattan, Breakfast At Tiffany’s, Brokeback Mountain, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Control

Week 3 – LUST, PERVERSIONS AND TUMULTUOUS ENTANGLEMENTS Eyes Wide Shut, 9 Songs, Sex Lies and Videotape, Last Tango In Paris, Dangerous Liaisons, Maîtresse

Week 4 – LOVE IS A DRUG: ADDICTION AND SELF-OBLIVION 9 ½ Weeks, Shame, Candy, Leaving Las Vegas, Pulp Fiction, I Am A Sex Addict

Week 5 – KILLER INSTINCT OF UNREQUITED LOVE Baise-Moi, Lost Highway, The Hunger, Double Indemnity, Revolutionary Road, The Crow

Week 6 – HAPPY ENDINGS: EVERLASTING EROS Bright Star, La Belle et la Bête, City Lights, A Matter Of Life And Death, The Fountain, Amour

PROJECTIONS is psychoanalysis for film interpretation. PROJECTIONS empowers film spectators to express subjective associations they consider to be meaningful. Expertise in psychoanalytic theory is not necessary – the only prerequisite is the desire to enter and inhabit the imaginary world of film, which is itself a psychoanalytic act. MARY WILD, a Freudian cinephile from Montreal, is the creator of PROJECTIONS.


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