Revisiting Walking Back to Happiness (2010). An Interview

This interview investigates the making of Pascal Poissonnier’s (1973) film Walking Back to Happiness (2010) in which the cineast recounts how he uncovered a long-held family secret concerning the identity of the natural father of his father. The dialogue focusses, on the following aspects: 1. The effect of the camera on speech; 2. Fatherhood and the Name-of-the-Father; 3. The influence of the cineast’s own analysis on the making of his film; 4. His family history; 5. His relationship with his father; 6. His film education; and 7. The influence of his theatre experience.

Gaze and responsibility in Akira Kurosawa’s Rashōmon

Akira Kurosawa’s movie Rashōmon (1950) is traditionally referred to as a clear illustration of the subjectivity of human perception and memory. However, the notion of the so-called Rashōmon effect reflects only a superficial reading of Kurosawa’s film. It is argued, both from a historical and from a psychoanalytic point of view, that the filmmaker’s interpretation of the medieval Japanese story addresses two important distinctions, far beyond the reach of traditional psychological research: 1, the distinction between perception and gaze, and 2, the distinction between guilt and responsibility. It is further argued that in addressing these two distinctions, Rashōmon, upon its release in 1950, confronted the world (and not just the regimes of the Japanese Empire and the Nazis) with its responsibility for the atrocities of World War II.

Under the spell of ‘Spellbound’, The filmic representability of the timeless unconscious.

The theme of this paper is the filmic representation of psychoanalysis in Hitchcock’s 1945 blockbuster Spellbound. This movie has been received with mixed feelings by psychoanalysts as portraying the psychoanalytic cure in an idealised and simplified way. This matches the cineaste view that Spellbound is “just another manhunt story wrapped up in pseudo-psychoanalysis” (Truffaut, 1985). In contrast, the author argues that Hitchcock’s filmic translation of Freud’s conception of the timelessness of the unconscious is adequate. More specific, it is argued that the visual representation of the Freudian ideas of i) the dream as via regia to the “other scene”; ii) the etiological development of traumatic neurosis (“Nachträglichkeit”) and iii) the association of past and present via the signifier “kill”, are pertinent. In addition, special attention is paid to the function of the returning visual motif of the parallel lines.

With Serge Tisseron: Looking for the Family Secret of Hergé

In this paper Serge Tisseron’s analysis of the work of Georges Remi is revisited from a Lacanian point of view. Special attention is paid to the function of the signifier and to the function of narrative in the phenomenon of the transmission of the unsaid. Hergé’s questioning of the father is analysed both at the level of the narrative of Les aventures de Tintin (The Adventures of Tintin) and at the level of his biography. It is shown, moreover, that the link between these different narratives is to be found in the signifiers.

Unconscious communication and the resistance of the psychoanalyst

As a comment on Smith’s paper, “The Evolution of the Unconscious” (2002), the question of the nature of so-called unconscious communication is addressed. Some passages in Freud’s writings appear to suggest that this phenomenon can be explained by the transmission of meaning theory according to which what is communicated or transmitted in unconscious communication comes down to the transmission of unconscious meaning attached to material cues that are consciously or unconsciously perceived. With reference to some reported examples of unconscious communication, it is argued that there is no convincing support for this theory and that, at best, they demonstrate that what is communicated is not meaning but rather resistance. It is further argued that the extensive clinical case published by Jacobs (2001) in which a disruption of the analytical process is explained by the conveyance of unconscious messages attached to the nonverbal enactments of the psychoanalyst does not require us to accept the transmission of meaning theory but rather provides an excellent example of the notion that the resistance of the patient is ultimately explained in relation to the resistance of the analyst.

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