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The Couch and
the Silver Screen

Psychoanalytic Reflections
on European Cinema

Edited by Andrea Sabbadini

Projected Shadows presents a new collection of essays exploring films from a psychoanalytic perspective, focusing specifically on the representation of loss in European cinema. This theme is discussed in its many aspects, including: loss of hope and innocence, of youth, of consciousness, of freedom and loss through death. Many other themes familiar to psychoanalytic discourse are explored in the process, such as: Establishment and resolution of Oedipal conflicts; Representation of pathological characters on the screen; Use of unconscious defence mechanisms; The interplay of dreams, reality and fantasy.
Projected Shadows
Psychoanalytic Reflections on the Representation of Loss in European Cinema
Edited by Andrea Sabbadini

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chris campbell


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Andrea Sabbadini

The 4th European Psychoanalytic Film Festival

 

The 4th 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 childhood.

         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 Bergman.

         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 Plenary Session.

The general feedback about epff4 was extremely positive, encouraging us to begin making plans for epff5 in 2009.

 

Andrea Sabbadini