Freudian Fadeout

The Failings of Psychoanalysis in Film Criticism


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About the Book

In Western culture, the psychoanalysis that has guided popular psychology for almost a century is now on the retreat. Better equipped with proven results, cognitive and evolutionary psychology has driven psychoanalysis out of the spotlight. In cultural and film studies, however, the debate between cognitive sciences and psychoanalysis remains contentious. This volume explores this state of things by examining criticism of 18 films, juxtaposing them with cognitive-based films to reveal the flaws in the psychoanalytical concepts. It pays particular attention to simulation theory, the concept that narratives “learned” from films could work in human minds as simulations for solutions to particular problems. By introducing the idea of narrative stimulation to film studies, this work argues for a different method of film critique, encouraging further research into this nascent field.

About the Author(s)

Arij Ouweneel is the author of several books on Latin American history and cognitive film studies and teaches film courses at CEDLA in Amsterdam.

Bibliographic Details

Arij Ouweneel
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 302
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2012
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6893-5
eISBN: 978-0-7864-9046-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Preface 1
Introduction: Into the Deep 7
1. Bertie’s Stammer 29
Hysteria in The King’s Speech (2010);
Tom Hooper (director), David Seidler (writer)
2. Agnostic Bella 52
The Deep in The Rite (2011) and The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009); Mikael Håfström (director), Michael Petroni (writer); and Chris Weitz (director), Melissa Rosenberg (writer)
3. Carol’s Predicament 80
The Body in [SAFE] (1995) and Jennifer’s Body (2009); Todd Haynes (writer and director); and Karyn Kusama (director), Diablo Cody (writer)
4. Alex’s Decision 104
Gender Choice in XXY (2007) and Chloe (2009); Lucía Puenzo (writer and director); and Atom Egoyan (director), Erin C. Wilson (writer)
5. Wendy’s Advice 125
Nightmares in Mysterious Skin (2004) and Dioses (2008); Gregg Araki (writer and director); and Josué Méndez (writer and director)
6. Clementine’s Whisper 151
Consciousness in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) and Drama (2010); Michel Gondry (director), Charlie Kaufman (writer); and Matías Lira (writer and director)
7. Melinda’s Silence 175
Conceptual Metaphor in Speak (2004) and Cosas insignificantes (2008); Jessica Sharzer (writer and director); and Andrea Martínez (writer and director)
8. Nina’s Double 197
The Illusion in Black Swan (2010) and The Virgin Suicides (1999); Darren Aronofsky (director), Mark Heyman, Andrés Heinz, and John McLaughlin (writers); and Sofia Coppola (writer and director)
Out of the Deep 226
Chapter Notes 241
Bibliography 261
Index 285