Of monsters, spirits, soldiers and the power of imagination. A psychoanalytic lens on Victor Erice’s “The spirit of the beehive” (El espíritu de la colmena)


My article on Victor Erice’s The Spirit of the Beehive (1973) looks at the ambivalent fantasies of two Spanish young girls, excited by the screening of the film Frankenstein in their village town-hall. I offer an interpretation of their fantasies in the context of those children’s psychological development, of their relationship with emotionally distant parents, and of Read more


Introduction, Psychoanalysis and Cinema: “Through a glass”

Cinema and psychoanalysis, which shared simultaneous origins at the end of the 19th century, occupy a central place in contemporary culture. It is not surprising then that both film scholars and psychoanalysts should engage in what has increasingly become a stimulating interdisciplinary dialogue with each other. This has in recent years found its own regular space in psychoanalytic congresses, as well as in many dedicated publications. I shall indicate here the main directions such studies have taken. Some authors have identified important analogies in analytic and filmic structure, function and mode of expression (suffice to think of the concept of projection); “to a large extent, film speaks the language of the unconscious” (Gabbard 1997 [1]). Much reflection has addressed the creatively ambiguous space in both cinema and psychoanalysis located between reality and fantasy, documentary and fictional narrative, history and subjective experiences. More specifically the interest of several authors has focused on the oneiric world (Hollywood has always been described as a ‘dream factory’), for if dream interpretation constitutes the Royal Road to the unconscious, perhaps also the exploration of films may lead us in the same direction… Movies and dreams share a morphological equivalence insofar as both can be considered to express our latent unconscious wishes through their manifest contents, and both use, for the purpose of circumventing repression, similar mechanisms, such as condensation, Read more