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Bugge, R.G. (2020). Vamik's Room: A New Vision of Global Diplomacy, a documentary film on the work of Vamik Volkan written, produced, and directed by Molly Castelloe. Large Group Films, 2018.. Organ. Soc. Dyn., 20(1):123-124.

(2020). Organizational and Social Dynamics, 20(1):123-124

Film Review

Vamik's Room: A New Vision of Global Diplomacy, a documentary film on the work of Vamik Volkan written, produced, and directed by Molly Castelloe. Large Group Films, 2018.

Review by:
Renate Gr⊘nvold Bugge

This movie is about the life and work of the Cypriot Turk psychoanalyst Vamik Volkan. It gives a sensitive and informative introduction to Vamik D. Volkan's background, coming from Cyprus, a conflict area. His life started there and he finds rest there in his current situation being a global citizen. In this lifespan there is so much experience from working with dialogue and understanding from different conflict areas.

The movie emphasises the special work of Volkan with focus on large-scale conflicts and traumas. The understanding is rooted in psychoanalytic thinking, that means to analyse culture, tradition, and motives in the perspective of history. To understand the current situation within a nation and between nations, it is important to keep the long perspective in mind. In addition, his perspective is rooted in the tradition of group relation understanding, since he all the time is pointing to large-group processes. This is quite a new way of thinking within international conflict solution attempts:

Diplomacy alone does not work in our time. There is so much polarization linked to history and chosen traumas. If you do not understand the psychological depth of chosen traumas then diplomacy will not achieve any goals.

This is the postulate that goes through the movie where Volkan gives us glimpses from his own life from the divided island of Cyprus.

He tells about the efforts of International Dialogue Initiative, the organisation that was established in 2008. The international perspective of this organisation is underlined by interviews, also with Gerard Fromm, one of the founders. Throughout the movie there is focus on specific topics such as large-group identity, the task of mourning, hot spots, chosen traumas, time collapse, and leadership.

The movie switches between documentary from history and present shots from ongoing political leadership. This makes the movie very up to date, because it links to the here and now. Experiences from current political leaders that we all can follow in the daily news.

My association, though too recent to be documented in the movie, goes to Trump's speech at the UN in September 2019, where he talked about globalisation as a danger to the world, and underlined the importance of nationalism.

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