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Levine, S.S. (2015). Means and Ends in Hitchcock's Vertigo, or Kant You See?. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 96(1):225-237.

(2015). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 96(1):225-237

Means and Ends in Hitchcock's Vertigo, or Kant You See? Language Translation

Susan S. Levine

I confess to having been spellbound by Vertigo since first seeing it in 1984 after its re-release - and I am not alone. Hitchcock's towering masterwork which opened to mixed reviews has gradually made its way to the top of Sight & Sound's list of the greatest films. Many years ago I discovered something new about Vertigo, something about Madeleine/Judy that had been right under our noses. By linking these discoveries to the leitmotif of dignity, I hope to add to our understanding of Vertigo, a film that seems to be reborn on each viewing.

I predicate my reading on the auteur theory of film interpretation, that is, that the director be considered the author of the work, an especially valid methodology regarding Hitchcock (Lee, 1986, p. 226). The reading I am offering here is the reading of a psychoanalyst rather than a particularly psychoanalytic reading. Berman (in Gabbard, 2001) provides an excellent summary of the psychoanalytic writings on Vertigo; most recently, Sanchez-Cardenas (2013) offers a reading using Matte-Blanco's theories. Instead, I am doing what a psychoanalyst does: listening to words and wondering about what they may mean; thinking about new frameworks through which to understand; and paying attention to my own countertransference. The analyst/viewer is always the detective, trying to put together the clues. My interpretation is informed by the French novel on which Vertigo was based, Boileau and Narcejac's D'Entre les Morts. Like both the film and the book, my essay will be in two parts that become linked at the end.

[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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