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Black, D.M. (2017). Moving Images: Psychoanalytic Reflections on Film by Andrea Sabbadini Routledge, London, 2014; 140 pp, £28.99. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 98(3):935-939.

(2017). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 98(3):935-939

Book and Journal Reviews

Moving Images: Psychoanalytic Reflections on Film by Andrea Sabbadini Routledge, London, 2014; 140 pp, £28.99

Review by:
David M. Black

When in 1835 Henry Fox Talbot, frustrated because his sister could draw better than he could, got his own back by inventing the photographic negative, he started a revolution with incalculable consequences. As with so much technology, it is tempting to remember the story of the genie and the bottle, or the more sinister story of the Sorcerer's Apprentice. What began as a technological innovation proved to have vast psychological consequences.

In Moving Images, Andrea Sabbadini is concerned with one branch of that huge revolution, cinema, mostly European and from the second half of the 20th century. What he gives us in this book is essentially short introductions to a total of 23 movies, which he has grouped into six chapters: films about psychoanalysis itself, about prostitution, childhood, adolescence, love (of a peculiarly ambiguous kind - ‘Eros-with-Thanatos’) and voyeurism. The last chapter is nicely entitled: ‘Watching Voyeurs’, and the voyeuristic nature of cinema itself is a sub-theme throughout.

Sabbadini is well placed to write this book. A British psychoanalyst, with a long history of involvement with film, he has written a great deal of film criticism, was for many years Film Essay Editor for this journal and in 2001 was the founding spirit behind the establishment of the very successful European Psychoanalytic Film Festival, which has taken place biennially since then and which he still chairs. He has also led many presentations and psychoanalytic discussions of films at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London.

[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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