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Villela, L. (1999). From Film as Case Study to Film as Myth: Psychoanalytic Perspectives on the Analysis of Cinema and Culture. Ann. Psychoanal., 26:315-330.

(1999). Annual of Psychoanalysis, 26:315-330

From Film as Case Study to Film as Myth: Psychoanalytic Perspectives on the Analysis of Cinema and Culture

Lúcia Villela, Ph.D.

Psychoanalysis provides us with a number of ways of looking at narrative in general and films in particular as data rich in implications for the study of the human mind and of our individual and shared values. The film or narrative can be analyzed as multiple case histories, in which the characters are treated as patients; it can be analyzed as a fantasy, dream or symptom, in which the text itself plays the role of both data and patient; it can be analyzed as a transference relationship, in which the reader/viewer takes turns playing analysand and analyst; and it can be analyzed as a myth, as a metaphor for the shared values of our society. These models could be said to form a semiological system in which each of the successive levels includes the previous model as one of its elements. In all the four models, the textual events can be taken as clues to our individual and shared values, defining values as the conscious and unconscious wishes, conflicts, and fears that move us. Except for the suggested hierarchical arrangement, these categories are similar (though not identical) to those of Skura (1981), Wright (1984), and Kaplan (1990).


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