N.28 - Psychoanalysis and Cinema: “Through a glass”

Group, psychoanalysis and cinema. Notes about a formative group and cinema experience

Abstract

In this essay we are willing to bring out some remarks on the usage of movies within experiential groups. As it is already widely acknowledged, there exists a strong relationship between cinema and psychoanalysis, especially between Freud’s theory of dreams and the cinematographic language. It is indeed interesting to highlight that they both are born close to each other: the first projection of Lumière brothers’ La sortie de l’usine Lumière in 1895, and the publication of Freud’s The interpretation of dreams, in 1899. The connection between cinema and psychoanalysis can be analyzed under different perspectives: the way psychoanalysis and psychoanalysts are represented in movies (Gabbard, 1999), the psychoanalytic elements nested into movies and their narratives, the effects of movies on the spectator (Musatti, 1961, Elsaeser e Hagener, 2007 et al.), or, the usage of psychoanalysis in semiotic studies of the diegetic device (Metz, 1977). A further perspective is proposed in our work, that is the effect of a movie on a group of spectators, emphasizing the relationship between what is represented in the movie and the mental reality of group members who watched the movie altogether.  The rest of the essay is structured as follow: the next section preliminary introduces the meanings that a movie might have in a psychoanalytic model; the second section will focus on cinema and dreams; the third section, after a brief introduction on the relationship between cinema and group, describes the group-dispositif that we implemented in a formative experience with both undergraduate and graduate students in Psychology; the final section concludes. We endorse Bion’s theory of mind in our theoretical and observational approach , as we believe that Bion’s contribution to thoughts’ transformational processes , an issue very close to our research interests.

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