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.

Art and psychoanalysis: An inspirational encounter

The sixth colloquium of A.L.E.P.H. (11/12/2004-12/12/2004) united psychoanalysts, art historians, philosophers and artists in the Fine Arts Museum of Tourcoing on the theme “Art and Psychoanalysis”. In this article, three authors reflect on what touched them during this colloquium and on what resonated with them afterwards. Jean-Pierre Van Eeckhout was inspired by the detail in which the particular is expressed and he emphasizes the value of the “scene” in “body art”. Sarah Willems saw this colloquium as an invitation to listen psychoanalytically to contemporary art and to comment on the psychoanalytical interpretation of an art work as a symptom. This idea particularly concerned Els Buytaert whose interest is in creative therapy. Each author offers some considerations from their particular field of activity and suggest that the encounter between art and psychoanalysis paves the way for an inspiring journey.

Chance in Freud and P.T. Anderson’s Magnolia

This paper deals with the Freudian conception of chance and with the way in which this theme is elaborated in the work of writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson. Freud’s interpretation of chance or symptomatic actions, belief in chance and in superstition is illustrated with reference to some small case fragments. P.T. Anderson, in his film Magnolia, also questions the hidden meaning of apparently accidental events in human life. Whereas Freud trips up the illusion of free will by pointing to the determination of our speech and actions by unconscious, powerful mechanisms, Anderson, in contrast, approaches the notion of chance as an astonishing coincidence that should be seized rather than ignored and dismissed as something purely accidental and trivial. It is concluded that both authors make a plea for the not so fortuitous nature of chance and for breaking with repetition by opening our eyes to whatever comes our way by chance.