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Katz, A.W. (2005). Psychoanalysis and the Arts: The Couch and the Silver Screen: Psychoanalytic Reflections on European Cinema. Edited by Andrea Sabbadini; foreword by Laura Mulvey. Brunner-Routledge: Hove and New York, 2003, 258 pp., $78.95 hardcover, $33.95 paperback.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 53(2):673-679.
(2005). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 53(2):673-679
Psychoanalysis and the Arts: The Couch and the Silver Screen: Psychoanalytic Reflections on European Cinema. Edited by Andrea Sabbadini; foreword by Laura Mulvey. Brunner-Routledge: Hove and New York, 2003, 258 pp., $78.95 hardcover, $33.95 paperback.
Review by: Anita Weinreb Katz
Wolfenstein and Leites noted more than fifty years ago that “the psychological study of cinematic art might be just as fruitful as Freud's applications of analytic thinking to the plays of Ibsen, Shakespeare and Sophocles” (cited in Gabbard 2001, p. 2). But a wholehearted endorsement of that view by the psychoanalytic community has been a long time coming. Wolfenstein's study of Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange(1976) is a gem, and there are other such gems in our literature going back many years. Psychoanalytic Review has published articles on movies since the sixties. But uncertainty about how to use film material, and possibly Freud's skepticism about the medium, left the movies largely outside of psychoanalytic purview, a vastly neglected resource. Happily, this is increasingly less true.
The work of Glen Gabbard (2001; Gabbard and Gabbard 1999), including seven methodologies for the study of film (2001, pp. 5-12), has no doubt contributed to the legitimization of psychoanalytic film study. The International Journal of Psychoanalysis now has a section devoted to movies, and both JAPA and Psychoanalytic Psychology have recently published movie-inspired papers. The growing number of film-related projects, and the number of analysts participating in them, further attest film's new status in our field.
This is as it should be. Gabbard (2001) calls films “a storehouse for the psychological images of our time” (p. 3). He believes, and I agree, that film, like the theater in ancient Greece, is the art form that can be shared and enjoyed by all the citizens of its time—men and women, old and young, rich and poor (Knox 1994).
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