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Diamond, D. Wrye, H.K. (1998). Epilogue. Psychoanal. Inq., 18(2):311-334.

(1998). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 18(2):311-334


Diana Diamond, Ph.D. and Harriet Kimble Wrye, Ph.D.

This special centennial issue of Psychoanalytic Inquiry reflects yet another chapter in the century-long love affair between psychoanalysis and film. This love affair has been a highly conflictual and problematic one, replete with narcissistic distortions and perverse resolutions, frustrating encounters and misinterpretations, and mutual projection and introjection of disavowed aspects of the self, punctuated by intense passionate moments of unity and transformation. We might ask what has kept film and psychoanalysis locked in such mutual, if uneasy, fascination for more than a century? And what has inspired so many interdisciplinary forays or border crossings among film theorists and psychoanalysts? The key to the lifelong infatuation of psychoanalysts and film scholars is their perpetual fascination with psychic reality—that blend of fantasy and memory, wish and desire, perception and representation (Arlow, 1996; Cooper and Spillius, 1996) that lies at the heart of analytic and filmic narratives. Just as analyst and patient co-construct a narrative of the patient's life interwoven with fantasy, memory, wish, and desire reexperienced in the transference relationship (Schafer, 1992; Hanley, 1996), so does film involve the projection of a narrative through a spectrum of visual images, inviting the viewer to co-construct the story by drawing on his or her own associations, memories, dream images, and projections (Silverman, 1988; Kaplan, 1990). Similarly, just as the analytic situation provides an arena for the excavation and exploration of primitive layers of self and object representations, so does film present us with a palimpsest of visual images that reveal conscious and unconscious aspects of the representational world (Berman, this issue). Finally, just as transference provides a vehicle for the expression of unconscious fantasy with its links to primitive objects for the analysand, so does film function as a “cinematic memory screen” for the spectator subject, a screen that at once reveals and conceals unconscious fantasy, thoughts, and images (de Lauretis, 1987; Kaplan, 1990).

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