European Psychoanalytic Film Festival
European Psychoanalytic Film Festival (epff4), which I had the honour
to organize and chair on behalf of our Institute, took place in London on 1
- 4 November. Welcomed on Thursday night by our President, over 300
delegates from 20 different countries participated in the proceedings and
enjoyed watching and discussing films with psychoanalysts and
psychotherapists, in constructive dialogue with the filmmakers themselves:
directors, producers, editors, screenwriters and actors.
The atmosphere - both at the Royal Society of Medicine where we held the
Thursday night opening reception, and in the prestigious venue of BAFTA in
Piccadilly where all the other events took place on Friday, Saturday and
Sunday morning – was warm and friendly, and conducive to good presentations
and fruitful discussions.
This year the Festival included films from European countries represented
for the first time at epff (such as Greece, Portugal, Switzerland,
Austria and Belgium) and centred around the theme of Children in Focus,
as indeed most of the movies had children or adolescents as protagonists
– either in playful or traumatic situations.
The programme of films included:
Emily Cooper’s ‘short’ Laid Down (discussed by the
director and Peter Fonagy), filmed by placing the camera in a cot and
looking at the world from the viewpoint of a baby.
The disturbing Portuguese Alice (presented by director
Marco Martins with psychoanalysts Frederico Pereira and Teresa Flores) on a
father’s desperately obsessional search for her disappeared 4-year-old girl.
Zozo (discussed by Swedish analysts Franziska Ylander
and Cecilia Hector) on the vicissitudes of a Lebanese boy fleeing Beirut
during the civil war and struggling to settle down in Sweden.
Nina’s Home (discussed by our French colleagues
Murielle Gagnebin and Adama Boulanger with producer Pascal Verroust) set in
a house in the countryside giving shelter to persecuted children during the
Nazi occupation in France.
· The fairy-tale Vitus from Switzerland (discussed by
director Fredi Murer with psychoanalysts Candy Aubry and Carole Bach)
on a child prodigy’s relationship with his grandfather.
A Song is Not Enough (presented by Marina Perris,
director Elissavet Chronopoulou and actor Yannis Kokiasmenos) on the
transformations in the relationship of a Greek actress persecuted during the
years of the dictatorship with her nine-year-old daughter and her father.
· The Belgian Thomas in Love (discussed by Susann Wolff
with director Pierre-Paul Renders, screenwriter Philippe Blasband and
actress Aylin Yay) on an agoraphobic young man engaging in a variety of
erotic relationships on the internet.
Michael Hanecke’s Austrian-French Hidden (discussed by
colleagues Elisabeth Skale, Lissa Weistein and Bettina Reiter with film
editor Michael Hudececk) on the upset created within a family by the
delivery of videotapes related to a disturbing event from the protagonist’s
Carol Reed’s classic The Third Man, followed by
a Power-Point presentation by Brigitte Timmermann on the pre-war Vienna of
Freud compared with the dilapidated one represented in the film.
The epff4 programme also included:
A lecture by film historian Ian Christie on the representation
of dreams in European cinema.
A series of three Panels: with prominent scholars Cathy
Portuges and Jeff Kline on a recent film about Freud and Princess Marie
Bonaparte (played by Catherine Deneuve); with our American colleagues Diana
Diamond on The Lives of Others and Alexander Stein on The Science
of Sleep; and by Bruce Sklarew and Ira Konigsberg on the last few
years and works of the recently deceased great Swedish director Ingmar
The screening of an episode from the successful and
controversial television series In Treatment, about a
psychotherapist’s practice - a programme eagerly followed every night in
Israel by a record audience and soon to reach international screens. We were
privileged by the presence of Nir Bergman, one of its directors, and Roni
Baht, a consultant to the show, discussing their film with our colleagues
Emanuel Berman and Shimson Wigoder.
Following the dinner and dance party on Saturday night in the spectacular
venue of the London Aquarium, epff4 was concluded on Sunday morning
with a presentation by three colleagues on their first Hungarian
Psychoanalytic Film Conference, held in Pecs in 2006 and modelled on our
own epff; and by the screening of two of Hans Richter and Oskar
Fischinger’s experimental shorts from the 1920s, introduced by Andrew
Webber, who then also co-chaired with Laura Mulvey and myself the final
The general feedback about epff4 was extremely positive, encouraging
us to begin making plans for epff5 in 2009.