What is Psychoanalysis in Film_

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What is Psychoanalysis in Film?

Psychoanalysis represents a unique approach to analyzing psychological theory. Providing therapy which focuses on the treatment of mental disorders through investigation. Into the interconnection between the conscious and unconscious elements of the psyche. The psychoanalysis process of therapeutic care involves bringing repressed fears and internal psychological conflicts to the surface through various techniques to further analyze. And interpret them while providing unique approaches in overcoming internal struggles for improved well-being. But what is psychoanalysis in film?

The psychoanalytic film theory was introduced as a concept of academic thought that uses concepts of psychoanalysis to analyze the impact films have on the viewer.

Psychoanalysis in film came as a direct result of the concepts of psychoanalysis presented by Sigmund Freud and Jacques Lacan.

What is Psychoanalysis in Film?

Firstly, the psychoanalytic film theory or psychoanalysis approach to film criticism and theory represents a focus on studying films and their impact on the individuals that watch them.

The psychoanalysis of a film seeks to apply concepts of psychoanalysis that were introduced by Freud and Lacan to analyze the impact of films on the unconscious.

Moreover, the earliest applications of psychoanalysis in film would concentrate largely on meanings behind the film images.

And later analysis would focus more on a review of film and cinema as a representation of fantasy or the made up world. Still later psychoanalysis of films would focus on critical theory or psychoanalytic film theory proper.

5 Approaches to Psychoanalysis in Film

Furthermore, throughout the history of psychoanalysis of films, there have been five approaches to film criticism. These approaches show the evolution of psychoanalysis. And the approach toward critiquing the impact of film on the viewer.

The psychoanalytic approaches to film criticism and theory included:

  1. Cultural myth analysis – Studying myths surrounding films & emerging through films. Including culture-specific myths in film narratives as a main theme.
  2. Biographical relevance analysis – Analyzing the connection between a filmmaker’s biographical relevance. As it relates to a film or series of films. Tracing film elements to unconscious impulses or repressions and childhood trauma suffered by the filmmaker.
  3. Character analysis – Analyzing character narratives, relationships, and connections to create case studies explaining motives and characteristics governing plot.
  4. Reception analysis – Analyzing the way an audience sees and comprehends a film, studying the position of the spectator identified by Christian Metz, and considerations regarding the role of the camera in creating interactive points of view.
  5. Film is a Working Model of Psychoanalysis – Analyzing film as a “dream screen”. In which films are dreams that are projected and decoded. 

In Summation

So, what is psychoanalysis in film? It’s the use of psychoanalytic theories to study the meaning behind films. And the filmmakers that create them as well as the impact of films on viewers.