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Lu, K. (2012). Jung & Film II: The Return Edited with Introduction by Christopher Hauke and Luke Hockley. Pp. xviii, 344, London and New York: Routledge, 2011, £21.99.. Free Associations, 13(1):107-111.

(2012). Free Associations, 13(1):107-111

Book Review

Jung & Film II: The Return Edited with Introduction by Christopher Hauke and Luke Hockley. Pp. xviii, 344, London and New York: Routledge, 2011, £21.99.

Review by:
Kevin Lu

Jung and Film II, in many respects, reflects the growth in Jungian thinking on the moving image since 2001. Its predecessor, Jung and Film (2001), is widely acknowledged by Jungian and Post-Jungian scholars as a seminal publication adumbrating the extent to which analytical psychological concepts can be mobilized to deepen one's engagement with the larger field of film studies. There exists a tendency, however, in Jungian film analysis, to use concepts such as the archetypes, anima/animus and the shadow to interpret the psychological role or condition played out by certain characters. Accordingly, the exercise becomes nothing more than a game of assigning archetypes, spotting how many constellations the attentive viewer can creatively identify. What Jung and Film II clearly displays is a degree of self-reflexivity; the willingness of a community of scholars interested in a particular application (or, stated another way, a branch of ‘applied psychoanalysis’) to think critically about what is being interpreted, and to make more explicit the underlying methodology being employed. “Those of us who engage in this work”, Don Fredericksen writes, “are at that point where we need to know better the nature and function of our criticism: we need a theory of Jungian film criticism, nested within a theory of film, its creation, and its exhibition” (2011: 99). Granted, a large part of the book is still dedicated to the interpretation of particular films or to the work of particular directors/artists (especially Parts I and III), but what I find refreshing about this collection is the direction towards which it is steering Jungian film studies specifically and Jungian and Post-Jungian studies more generally.

Don Fredericksen, for instance, questions whether Jungian film analysis should hope to find expressions of what Jung truly meant by his concepts in popular film alone.

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