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Eyres, M. (2008). The Couch and the Silver Screen. Psychoanalytic Reflections on European Cinema, edited by Andrea Sabbadini, London & New York, Brunner-Routledge, 2003, 280 pp., £21.99. Psychoanal. Psychother., 22(1):64-66.
   

(2008). Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, 22(1):64-66

Book Reviews

The Couch and the Silver Screen. Psychoanalytic Reflections on European Cinema, edited by Andrea Sabbadini, London & New York, Brunner-Routledge, 2003, 280 pp., £21.99

Review by:
Maria Eyres

There is a certain nostalgic magic about the title of this book, echoed in its slightly out of focus cover, with an old fashioned movie camera and the reels of film, the magic that takes the reader straight into the world of celluloid. The world is illuminated by the light beam from the projector with the particles of dust dancing through it, with a lingering smell of popcorn, Hollywood glamour and high drama.

The content of the book grew out of the First European Psychoanalytic Film Festival that took place in November 2001 under the chairmanship of the book's editor, Andrea Sabbadini. The volume belongs to the New Library of Psychoanalysis series.

I was certainly interested but quietly sceptical as well; can the book really reflect the atmosphere of such a complex and rich event; how possible it is to capture the spirit of the moving pictures in the stillness of the written word?

An Introduction by Sabbadini explores the relationship between the cinema and psychoanalysis, the way they influence and inform each other and how psychoanalysis can be used to enquire into the art of the cinema.

The book is divided into four parts; ‘Set and stage’, ‘Working through trauma’, ‘Horror perspectives’ and ‘Documenting internal world’. Each part is then divided into chapters and the contributors include actors, directors, producers, analysts, psychotherapists and film scholars.

‘Set and stage’ follows the Introduction with transcripts from two meetings of thespians and analysts, starting with Bernardo Bertolucci, Fiona Show and Chris Mowson discussing the inner and outer world of the film-maker's temporary inner structure.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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