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Analytical psychology and cinema

Analytical psychology and cinema
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  Analytical psychology and cinema Helena Bassil-Morozow,  University of Bedfordshire, UK For a long time, Jung had been an unwelcome name at  fi lm and mediaconferences, short of unmentionable. Seen as conservative, apolitical,antiscienti fi c, bizarre and obscure, Jungian theory has been ignored by culturalstudies for decades. Only the idea of the archetype has more or less managedto establish itself as a critical term. As one young (and a little overambitious) fi lm scholar told me recently, with a smile,  ‘  Jung? To analyse  fi lms?Interesting idea; never heard of it ’ . In a way, using Jung to analyse  fi lmnarratives is an equivalent to thinking outside the box — to challenge theestablished norm.All the while, in the past  20  years or so, the  fi lm industry itself has beenin fl uenced by Jungian and post-Jungian ideas and concepts. ChristopherVogler ’ s book,  The Writer ’ s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers  ( 1998  /  2007 ), became the widely-acclaimed cookbook for creating  ‘ perfect ’ ,commercially viable narratives securing large audiences. True, Jungian ideas,particularly coupled with Joseph Campbell ’ s structuralist analysis of fairytalemotifs, make for a powerful tool of psychological in fl uence which theHollywood machine can use to secure big  fi nancial returns.  ‘ A narrativecookbook ’  is the kind of phenomenon that is capable of attracting moreattention to Jungian psychology than years of academic monographs andscholarly articles. Despite its controversy, Vogler ’ s book demonstrates thepractical aspect of analytical psychology — and primarily, via the concept of individuation, its applicability to human experience. A brief overview of the field Even though Jungian and post-Jungian concepts are still new to most academicsand fi lm critics, things are gradually changing, and Jungian  fi lm studies is a nowa fast-growing academic  fi eld. It has taken two main directions: narrativeanalysis (John Izod, Terrie Waddell, Helena Bassil-Morozow, Catriona Miller)and phenomenological criticism (Luke Hockley, Greg Singh). One of thepioneers of the  fi eld, the  fi lmmaker and theorist Christopher Hauke, can be 0021-8774/2015/6001/132  ©  2015 , The Society of Analytical Psychology Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd,  9600  Garsington Road, Oxford OX 4 2 DQ, UK and  350  Main Street, Malden, MA  02148 , USA.DOI:  10.1111/1468-5922.12135  Journal of Analytical Psychology ,  2015 ,  60, 1 ,  132 – 136  said to explore both how  fi lms are made and their effect on the audience; boththeir narrative and phenomenological aspects.The narrative group has traditionally been paying more attention to thestructural, symbolic and semiotic heritage of Jungian thought, while thephenomenological cluster is more interested in the meaning-making andtherapeutic properties of the cinematic experience. In fact, the two groupshave been doing important work by exploring  fi lm from two complementaryangles: the making of the structure and the birth of meaning. Both are  fi rmlyrooted in Jung ’ s idea of the collective unconscious as both a source of emotional trouble and a well of therapeutic experience. They also share thecentral Jungian interest in the  ‘ individuating golden mean ’— the borderbetween the personal and the collective in human experiences. One of thecentral institutions of modern life, due to its mass characters andtechnological possibilities, the visual image offers limitless opportunities forexamining and negotiating this border.One of the  fi rst authors to explore the usefulness of Jungian theory for  fi lmstudies was Don Fredericksen. In his article  ‘  Jung/Sign/Symbol/Film ’  ( 1979 ),Fredericksen maps out the differences between Freudian and Jungianpsychology regarding creativity and works of art. It is the battle betweenthe semiotic and the symbolic attitudes — the  fi rst interprets narrativeelements and metaphors as signs, and the second as symbols. Thedifference between the two lies in the amount of interpretive freedom, andin the number of interpretations possible for each symbol. Following Jung,Fredericksen hopes to demonstrate  ‘ our need and our capacity to be opento meaning — fi lmic and otherwise — of a kind and in places where semioticattitudes have not previously found it ’  (Hauke & Alister  2001 , p.  17 ).Fredericksen insists that fashionable interpretations and notions of meaning,instead of expanding and enlightening the world, make it look narrow, andby this narrowness  ‘ we are denying ourselves a sense of meaning — and awisdom — at once very old and very alive in the contemporary world,including the world of   fi lm ’  ( 2005 , p.  17 ).Another pioneer of Jungian Film Studies is John Izod. His more recentpublications include  Myth, Mind and the Screen: Understanding the Heroes of Our Time  ( 2001 ) and  Screen, Culture, Psyche:  А   Post-Jungian Approach toWorking With the Audience  ( 2006 ). Izod draws his analyses of screen textson the concepts of individuation, archetypal imagery and creative possibilitiesof the unconscious. For instance, in  Screen, Culture, Psyche  ( 2006 ), he tracescharacter transformation throughout Stanley Kubrick ’ s  Eyes Wide Shut  ( 1999 ), Bernardo Bertolucci ’ s  Stealing Beauty  ( 1996 ),  The Dreamers  ( 2003 ), Besieged   ( 1998 ), and Andrew Niccol ’ s  Simone  ( 2002 ). He also discusses theuse of myths in British documentaries of the  1980 s and  1990 s, and themythology and archetypalism of the Western.Izod ’ s writing can be grouped together with two other Jungian  fi lm authors:Terrie Waddell and Helena Bassil-Morozow. Terrie is a former actress, and Analytical psychology and cinema  133  nowanacademicauthor andlecturer.Herpublications includearangeofeditedcollections and monographs, most notable being  Mis/takes: Archetype, Mythand Identity in Screen Fiction  ( 2006 ) and  Wild/lives: Trickster, Place and Liminality on Screen  ( 2009 ). In these books, Waddell explores a range of archetypes (and particularly their female incarnations) in contemporary  fi lmand television. For instance, in  Mis/takes  Waddell discusses the ways in whichcontemporary mythology, as outlined in  fi lm, re fl ects the identity issues of theindividual as well as the fundamental problems of contemporary society. Hertask is  ‘ to examine the way that identity is disrupted and developed incontemporary  fi lm and television and involves drawing on the core archetypalpatterns central to [Jung ’ s] understanding of the psyche and mythology ’ (Waddell  2006 , p.  1 ).Helena Bassil-Morozow is another author who concentrates on thearchetypal aspect of visual narratives. Her publications on  fi lm include themonographs  Tim Burton: the Monster and the Crowd   ( 2010 ),  The Tricksterin Contemporary Film  ( 2012 ) and  The Trickster and the System: Identity and Agency in Contemporary Society  ( 2015 ). Like many post-Jungian authors,her research is based on the premise that mass media is a direct re fl ection of the collective psyche. More immediate and accessible than any other art form,it faithfully re fl ects the emotional and intellectual condition of thecontemporary Western individual. Interestingly enough, both Waddell andBassil-Morozow concentrate in their works on the trickster  fi gure, as itre fl ects the spirit of post-industrial time and shows the changes in thecollective psyche more faithfully than any other image. The trickster is purechange, pure movement, which makes him a suitable metaphor for thedescription of the fast-paced environments and lifestyles of Western societies.In the world of Jungian  fi lm criticism, Christopher Hauke ’ s vision of cinemais probably the most all-encompassing as he is an academic author and lecturer,a  fi lmmaker and a psychotherapist. The two collections he co-edited with hiscolleagues, Ian Alister and Luke Hockley, respectively,  Jung and Film: Post- Jungian Takes on the Moving Image  ( 2001 ) and  Jung and Film II: the Return ( 2011 ), brought together a range of Jungian  fi lm scholars in the hope tooutline the emerging academic discipline.In his most recent book,  Visible Mind: Movies, Modernity and theUnconscious  ( 2014 ), Christopher Hauke discusses  fi lms in terms of theirmythological value for the contemporary individual. He argues that cinematicnarratives hold therapeutic value, which is as generally symbolic as it isdependent on personal circumstances. Cinematic narratives, Hauke states, arecontemporary versions of eternal myths. People have always used tales asmeaning-making devices, and moving images are particularly good for thispurpose. Cinema has the possibility  ‘ of becoming an imaginal space ’  and  fi lmwatching offers  ‘ a special place where psyche can come alive, be experiencedand be commented upon ’  (Hauke  2014 , p.  4 ). Moreover, as self-discovery isoften a complex and painful process,  ‘ popular cultural forms such as cinema 134  Helena Bassil-Morozow  can provide the holding necessary for intense experiences, making them moreaccessible and more bearable ’  (ibid., p.  4 ).Luke Hockley and Greg Singh can be said to comprise the ‘ phenomenological ’  wing of Jungian Film Studies, which is more interested inthe ways  fi lm images in fl uence the audience than in the narrative constructionaspect of   fi lms. They write about a number of issues concerning emotionalexchange between the screen and the audience: construction of meaning;therapeutic effect of cinematic narratives; projective-introjective exchange;and identity and identi fi cation in relation to screen images.Hockley ’ s works on  fi lm are informed by his experience as a psychotherapistas he uses  fi lms in his private practice. In his monographs, he explores theaffective power of cinema and television. In  Frames of Mind: A Post-JungianLook at Cinema, Television and Technology  ( 2007 ), Hockley rightly notesthat academic  fi lm theory surprisingly paid little attention to viewers ’ emotional relationships with the mobbing image (Hockley  2007 , p.  35 ). In Somatic Cinema  ( 2014 ), he further investigates the relationship between affectevoked in an individual in the process of watching a movie, and the meaningarising out of this experience. Hockley argues (in line with Jung ’ s view of symbols) that any meaning produced by on-screen imagery is both powerfuland personal.Similarly, Greg Singh ’ s approach to cinema focuses on the affective nature of  fi lm viewing — and particularly on the power that affect has on individuals andpersonality development. In his book  Feeling Film: Affect and Authenticity inPopular Cinema  ( 2014 ), Singh argues that cinema is an ideal candidate  ‘ forthinking through the expressive potential of cultural production from apsychological perspective ’  because, being  ‘ psychomimetic ’ , it re fl ects therelationship human beings have with the outside world (Singh  2014 , p.  11 ).Overall, analytical psychology is a versatile toolbox, and has a lot to offer to fi lm criticism apart from (and beyond) the concept of individuation and thehero myth. It can be used to discuss the semiotic/symbolic division; thedichotomy between the universality of the symbol and the personal meaningsit generates; the  fl eeting nature of meaning and affect; the psychological valueof the hero myth; the relationship between the social and the personal incinematic narratives; and the nature of the creative process — be it the processof making a  fi lm or the process of watching one. References Bassil-Morozow, H. ( 2010 ).  Tim Burton: The Monster and the Crowd  . London:Routledge ———  ( 2012 ).  The Trickster in Contemporary Film . London: Routledge. ———  ( 2015 ).  Identity and Agency in Contemporary Society . London & New York:Routledge.Fredericksen, D. ( 1979 ).  ‘  Jung/Sign/Symbol/Film ’  In  Jung and Film: Post-Jungian Takeson the Moving Image . ( 2001 ), eds. I. Alister & C. Hauke. London: Routledge,  17 – 55 . Analytical psychology and cinema  135  Hauke, C. ( 2000 ).  Jung and the Postmodern: The Interpretation of Realities . Londonand Philadelphia: Routledge.Hauke, C. & Alister, I. ( 2001 ).  Jung & Film, Post-Jungian Takes on the Moving Image .East Sussex: Brunner-Routledge.Hauke, C. ( 2005 ).  Human Being Human: Culture and the Soul  . London: Routledge. ———  ( 2014 ).  Visible Mind: Movies, Modernity and the Unconscious . London:Routledge.Hauke, C. & Hockley, L. ( 2011 ).  Jung & Film  11 : The Return, Further Post-JungianTakes on the Moving Image . London & New York: Routledge.Hockley, L. ( 2001 ).  Cinematic Projections: The Analytical Psychology of C.G. Jung and Film Theory . London: University of Luton Press. ———  ( 2007 ).  Frames of Mind: A Post-Jungian Look at Cinema, Television and Technology . Bristol and Chicago: Intellect. ———  ( 2014 )  Somatic Cinema . London: Routledge.Izod, J. ( 2001 ).  Myth, Mind and Screen: Understanding the Heroes of Our Time .London: Routledge. ———  ( 2006 ).  Screen, Culture, Psyche: A Post-Jungian Approach to Working with theAudience . London: Routledge.Singh, G. ( 2009 ).  Film After Jung: Post-Jungian Approaches to Film Theory . London:Routledge. ———  ( 2014 ).  Feeling Film: Affect and Authenticity in Popular Cinema . Hove:Routledge.Vogler, C. ( 1998  /  2007 ).  The Writer ’ s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers . London:Pan.Waddell, T. ( 2006 ).  Mis/takes: Archetype, Myth and Identity in Screen Fiction . Londonand NewYork: Routledge. ———  ( 2009 ).  Wild/Lives: Trickster, Place and Liminality on Screen . London:Routledge. 136  Helena Bassil-Morozow
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