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Diamond, D. Wrye, H. Sabbadini, A. (2007). Prologue. Psychoanal. Inq., 27(4):367-380.

(2007). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 27(4):367-380


Issue Editor:
Diana Diamond, Ph.D., Harriet Wrye, Ph.D. and Andrea Sabbadini, M.A.

The 10 Articles in This Issue, Written by Prominent European and American psychoanalysts and film scholars, juxtapose cinematic visions of psychoanalysis with psychoanalytic visions of cinema. Psychoanalysis and film have been linked since their inception at the end of the 19th century, and this issue explores how they have evolved in tandem to describe and provide a deeper understanding of both intrapsychic and social reality. In Paris in 1895, the same year that the Lumière brothers publicly screened the first nonfiction film, Sortie d'Usine (Workers Leaving the Factory), Freud published his landmark Studies on Hysteria. Narrative film had its inception the following year with the work of Alice Guy, who developed the art of cinematic story telling through a number of dramas and comedies (Ezra, 2004). During the past century of their shared history, concepts such as psychic reality, the unconscious and its interpenetration with conscious experience, Oedipal dynamics and triangles, identification, dream screen, projection, voyeurism, fetishism, the uncanny, and spectatorship have become central to both psychoanalytic and cinematic languages, and the analytic relationship has provided a vehicle for a number of cinematic plots and a wide range of psychoanalytic film scholarship has emerged as an academic pursuit.

This dual inception and parallel unfolding of film and psychoanalysis is not surprising because cinema, as Luis Buñuel (1953) observed, is “among all the means of human expression the one which comes nearest to the mind of man, or even more which best imitates the functioning of the mind in the state of dreaming” (p. 47). Through its combination of imagery, music, and dialogue, cinema is also uniquely suited to evoke the inner world of affect, drive, and fantasy, seemingly invented to express the poetry of the unconscious life (Buñuel, 1953). Indeed, cinema-with its confluence of sound and image, action and dialogue-reflects a contemporary view of the mind and how we apprehend and experience reality, both internal and external.

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