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Lindbom-Jakobson, M. Lindgren, L. (1994). The Psychology of the Persecutor — with Reference to Costa Gavras's Film Music Box. Psychoanal. Psychother., 8(3):215-225.

(1994). Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, 8(3):215-225

The Psychology of the Persecutor — with Reference to Costa Gavras's Film Music Box

Marika Lindbom-Jakobson and Lena Lindgren

This paper is based on the author's interpretation of the film Music Box by Costa Gavras. The external and internal preconditions in the development of a persecutor are discussed in an attempt to understand the process from a socio-psychological as well as psychoanalytic viewpoint. During crises of a social nature, earlier coping strategies lose their validity, resulting in a narcissistic blow to the individual's ego. Earlier repressed primitive aspects of the personality are reactivated. When the individual is exposed to a totalitarian ideology which promises salvation from anxiety, paranoid processes become anchored and may dominate.

The protagonist in the film is approached as a case-study. By reviewing his present and past actions, the process by which the young man became a persecutor is exemplified as well as the long-term effects upon his object relations.

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