1st Edition

Moving Images
Psychoanalytic reflections on film

ISBN 9780415736121
Published February 12, 2014 by Routledge
160 Pages 25 B/W Illustrations

USD $52.95

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Book Description

The experience of watching films – entertaining, moving, instructive, frightening or exciting as they may be – can be enriched by the opportunity to reflect upon them from unconventional perspectives.Psychoanalytic Reflections on Film: Moving Images offers its readers in an accessible language one such viewpoint, informed by Andrea Sabbadini's psychoanalytic insights and therapeutic experience. Using a psychoanalytic interpretative approach, some twenty-five important feature films are discussed as the artistic vehicles of new, unsuspected meanings.

The first chapter looks at films which represent psychoanalytic work itself, having therapists and their patients as their main characters. The remaining five chapters cover movies on themes of central concern to analytic theorists and clinicians, such as childhood and adolescent development, and varieties of intimate relationships among adults. The latter include romantic love and its disturbing association to death fantasies; eroticism and prostitution; and voyeuristic desire – a significant phenomenon in this context given its parallels with the activity of watching films. Andrea Sabbadini's psychoanalytic approach, which explores the part played by unconscious factors in shaping the personality and behaviour of film characters, is used to interpret their internal world and the emotional conflicts engendered by the vicissitudes they live through. The book is completed by a filmography and biographical notes on film directors.

Psychoanalytic Reflections on Film presents the relationship between cinema and psychoanalysis as a complex one. These two most different of cultural phenomena are shown to share a wish on the part of their practitioners to uncover profound truths about the human condition, and to provide a language with which to describe them. Going beyond futile ‘psycho-historical’ attempts to analyse filmmakers through their products, or a superficial application of psychoanalytic concepts to film, Sabbadini shows how both cinema and psychoanalysis can benefit from a meaningful interdisciplinary dialogue between them. The book will be of special interest to practicing psychoanalysts and students, scholars and historians of film studies.

Table of Contents

Introduction. A Young Profession: Films on Psychoanalysis. … And the Oldest One: Films on Prostitution. The Young Ones: Films on Children. … And Slightly Older Ones: Films on Adolescents. Between Eros and Thanatos: Films on Love. Watching Voyeurs: Films on Scopophilia. Appendix.

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Andrea Sabbadini is a Fellow of the British Psychoanalytical Society and its Director of Publications. He works in private practice in London, is the director of the European Psychoanalytic Film Festival, and is also the film section editor of the International Journal of Psychoanalysis. He is the author of Boundaries and Bridges (Karnac 2014) and the editor of Even Paranoids Have Enemies (Routledge 1998), The Couch and the Silver Screen (Routledge 2003) and Projected Shadows (Routledge 2007).


"Andrea Sabbadini's Moving Images is a brilliant, clearly written and illuminating collection of essays on film and psychoanalysis. The films he discusses range from those with manifest psychoanalytical content (e.g. Spellbound), to others with more latent ones (e.g. Kes). His original and challenging readings are an irresistible blend of psychoanalytical expertise and sheer delight in film. Books on film and psychoanalysis can often be opaque or hard-going. Moving Images is a wonderful exception that proves the rule." - Peter William Evans, Queen Mary, University of London

"The passionate love-story between Psychoanalysis and Cinema presents in this book one of its most convincing and superb peaks. Andrea Sabbadini, an outstanding British analyst and organizer of the "European Psychoanalytic Film Festival" held in London since 2000, shows all his competence and contagious enthusiasm in dealing with this exciting topic.A deep and thoughtful work, a real pleasure for the reader." - Stefano Bolognini, President of the International Psychoanalytical Association

"Sabbadini writes with a sensibility that befits his role as director of the European Film Festival... Moving Images is a very scholarly work. For psychoanalysts who go to the movies as a busman's holiday, this book will be a wonderful cinematic travelogue. For students of the humanities who watch through a psychoanalytic lens, this book will be a delight." - Jaine Darwin, PsycCRITIQUES