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Epstein, H. (2009). Whose Story is it? Constructing Narrative in Analysis and Memoir. Psychoanal. Perspect., 6(2):76-89.

(2009). Psychoanalytic Perspectives, 6(2):76-89

Whose Story is it? Constructing Narrative in Analysis and Memoir

Helen Epstein

There was a time when most aspiring writers wanted to write novels; today they're more likely to write memoirs. The narrative of memory, sometimes enlarged and contextualized by documentary research, has permeated the arts, including the unlikely world of animated film. Ari Folman's Waltz with Bashir is but one recent addition to this genre. Folman's reconstruction of his participation in the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon was sparked by meetings with a therapist required by the Israeli Army after he petitioned, at age 40, to be excused from duty as a reservist. He then embarked on a psychotherapy that lasted four years—as long as it took to make the film.

“I'd say the filmmaking part was good, but the therapy aspect sucks,” he wroe in his Cannes Film Festival press book. “Filmmaking is dynamic therapy,” he told the Boston Phoenix. “It's a process…in which you meet people, interview them, write it, read it, rewrite it, shoot it. Psychotherapy is totally passive compared to making a film or writing.”

While I didn't find my analysis a “totally passive” experience, I understand some of the filmmaker's frustration with psychotherapy.

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