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Gabbard, K. (2016). Moving Images: Psychoanalytic Reflections on Film, by Andrea Sabbadini (New Library of Psychoanalysis) London and New York: Routledge, 2014, 140 pp. (ISBN 978-0415736121, US $49.95 Paperback). Psychoanal. Psychol., 33(4):621-625.

(2016). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 33(4):621-625

Book Review

Moving Images: Psychoanalytic Reflections on Film, by Andrea Sabbadini (New Library of Psychoanalysis) London and New York: Routledge, 2014, 140 pp. (ISBN 978-0415736121, US $49.95 Paperback)

Review by:
Reviewed by Krin Gabbard, Ph.D.

Andrea Sabbadini, a psychoanalyst practicing in London, has written a short but stimulating survey of some films that have, to paraphrase the title of this volume, “moved” him. He freely admits that his choices are highly personal and hence arbitrary. He also disavows any attempt to provide “a systematic, scholarly approach to film criticism” and “any new general theoretical model for the interpretation of films” (p. xvii). For better or worse, Sabbadini is just as eclectic and unsystematic as he applies different psychoanalytic tools to individual films.

Sadly, some of the films that the author writes about are so obscure that most mental health professionals and even many in the film studies community will never have heard of them. As of this writing, the most obscure item, the Bulgarian film Mila from Mars (2004), is not available on DVD, and another, the Swedish film Lilya-4-Ever (2002), is only available in a format incompatible with most American DVD-players. In spite of his rarefied, international aesthetic, Sabbadini does, however, have much in common with the many psychoanalytically minded film buffs who are fascinated by Alfred Hitchcock. The book offers short sections on Spellbound (1945), Rear Window (1954), and Vertigo (1958). Otherwise, most of the films that Sabbadini writes about are European and belong to what film scholars would call “the art cinema.” In other words, films that cry out for explanation.

Moving Images is broken into six chapters, each one devoting several pages to three, four, or five individual films.

[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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