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Tylim, I. (1996). Safe: Body, Refuge, and Survival. Psychoanal. Rev., 83(1):128-131.

(1996). Psychoanalytic Review, 83(1):128-131

Safe: Body, Refuge, and Survival

Isaac Tylim, Psy.D.

Dusk in a suburban Californian community. Time and place are clearly defined: San Fernando, 1987. A black Mercedes rolling swiftly through a tree-lined street. Lit-up lamps posts suggesting a Magritte-like composition, the mysterious unknown lingering under the familiarity of a perfect upper-middle-class community. A well-dressed couple in the car. The man in a dark suit, the woman in a white dress. A shot of the automatic gate to a private garage allows the spectator to enter into the immaculate quarters of a married couple. Carol White, the wife, in white, gets out of the car and sneezes. Her husband replies: “Bless you.” She is affected by a chronic sinus infection. From the first scene the reference to the body infiltrates the narrative like the ubiquitous fumes that begin to affect Carol's functioning.

Through the film (directed by Todd Haynes and produced by Chemical Film Production-note the irony), the audience will witness the gradual deterioration of Carol's physical and mental state. She will visit her internist and psychiatrist, who will not be able to diagnose her condition. Friends recommend a special fruit diet to clear her body of toxins.

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