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Portuges, C. (2007). Central European Twins: Psychoanalysis and Cinema in Ildikó Enyedi's My Twentieth Century. Psychoanal. Inq., 27(4):525-539.

(2007). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 27(4):525-539

Central European Twins: Psychoanalysis and Cinema in Ildikó Enyedi's My Twentieth Century

Catherine Portuges

Ildiko Enyedi's My 20th Century(1989), set at the turn of the previous century, presents a fictional narrative with documentary elements, evoking a moment of convergence when both cinema and psychoanalysis were, like the twins born during the film's opening sequences, in their infancy. Together, the twins incarnate the split schisms of modernity, the competing claims on women confronted by the dual demands of fem ale sexuality and equality, the implications of self in relation to other. The film's stylistic power is rendered through the use of strategies of paradox and irony, favored tropes of Central European artistic representation; while critiquing of national and patriarchal discourses, it problematizes and comments upon female pleasure and desire. By foregrounding the power of the feminine in the encounter between twin protagonists and the patriarchal world of Freud's Central Europe, the director places female subjectivity at the center of the action, setting the stage for a narrative of desire localized in and focalized by the female gaze. In a key sequence of feminist solidarity, the sisters test the evolution of scientific wisdom by attending the lectures of Otto Weininger on “Sex and Character,” a moment that satirizes and undermines Victorian Austro-Hungarian moeurs and acknowledges the history of early feminist suffrage, repressed from public discourse during the decades of communism

in Eastern Europe. Re-reading My Twentieth Century through the double lens of psychoanalysis and feminism at a moment when Hungary rejoins the European Community at once affirms and reclaims female desire and hope for something new.

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