The Secret Life of Movies

Schizophrenic and Shamanic Journeys in American Cinema


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About the Book

Film blurs the line between myth and reality better than any other artistic medium, one could argue. Using movies to explore the unconscious realms of society in order to reach a better understanding of what drives it, this book examines filmmakers and films that center on schizophrenic themes of alienation, paranoia, breakdown, fantasy, dreams, dementia and violence, and that address—as entertainment—the schizophrenic experience. The loss of individual identity as reflected in the films is investigated, as well as the shamanic potential inherent in the broader theme.

About the Author(s)

A longtime film reviewer, Jason Horsley’s other writings include a novel, screenplays and several nonfiction books about modern cinema. His filmmaking projects include The God Game, Beauty Fool and Being the One. A native of England, he currently lives in Canada.

Bibliographic Details

Jason Horsley

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 299
Bibliographic Info: 21 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2009
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4423-6
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5462-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      1
Introduction: From Thesis to Diagnosis      5

1. The Occult Text: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly and the Alchemy of Individuation      15
2. Courting the Other: Quests for Completion      33
3. Scars: The Hero as Psychopath      57
4. Weeping Alone: The Counterculture Fails to Communicate      80
5. The Revolting Male: Jack Nicholson and the Schizophrenic Journey      93
6. Into the Wild: John Boorman’s Explicit Myths      108
7. A Glass Darkly: Brando and Bertolucci’s Last Tango      121
8. The Man Behind the Mask: Roman Polanski’s Dementia Tales      130
9. Beautiful Freaks: Tim Burton’s Celebrations of Specialness      143
10. The Great American Psychopath      158

11. Stealing Candy/Healing Laughter: The Evolution of the Schizo Comedy      175
12. Advocating Satan      191
13. God’s Channel      202
14. Paranoia: A Conspiracy by Any Other Name      211
15. Where Is My Mind? Notes on Purity of Impulse in Fight Club      227
16. Aliens “R” Us: Race Intimations of Metamorphosis      242
17. Behind Closed Doors: Antithesis and Antidote      253

Epilogue: Rounding Up the Usual Suspects      278
Chapter Notes      281
Bibliography      283
Index      285