Jung and Film II

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Jung and Film II: The Return
Further Post-Jungian Takes on the Moving Image
Edited by Christopher Hauke, Luke Hockley
Published 20th June 2011 by Routledge

 

Since Jung and Film was first published in 2001, Jungian writing on the moving image in film and television has accelerated. Jung and Film II: The Return provides new contributions from authors across the globe willing to tackle the broader issues of film production and consumption, the audience and the place of film culture in our lives.

As well as chapters dealing with particular film makers such as Maya Derren and films such as Birth, The Piano, The Wrestler and Breaking the Wave, there is also a unique chapter co-written by documentary film-maker Tom Hurvitz and New York Jungian analyst Margaret Klenck. Other areas of discussion include:

  • the way in which psychological issues come under scrutiny in many movies
  • the various themes that concern Jungian writers on film
  • how Jungian ideas on psychological personality types can be applied in fresh ways to analyse a variety of characters.

The book also includes a glossary to help readers with Jungian words and concepts. Jung and Film II is not only a welcome companion to the first volume, it is an important stand- alone work essential for all academics and students of analytical psychology as well as film, media and cultural studies.

Contents
  • Hauke and Hockley, Introduction

Part I: Image and Psychotherapy

  • Klenck and Hurwitz, The Decisive Image in Documentary Film, in Jungian Analysis.
  • Hewison, “I Thought He Might Be Better Now”: A Clinician’s Reading of Individuation in Breaking The Waves.
  • Zanardo, Love, Loss, Imagination and The Other in Soderbergh’s Solaris.
  • Izod and DovalisBirth: Eternal Grieving of the Spotless Mind.
  • Hauke, Soul and Space in No Country for Old Men.

Part II: Image and Theory

  • Fredericksen, Jungian Film Studies: The Corruption of Consciousness and the Nurturing of Psychological Life.
  • Hauke, “Much Begins Amusingly and Leads into the Dark”: Jung’s Popular Cinema and the Other.
  • Jacobs, Contrasting Interpretations of Film: Freudian and Jungian.
  • Izod, Individual Interpretations: A Response to Michael Jacobs.
  • Hockley, The Third Image: Depth Psychology and the Cinematic Experience.
  • Rowland, The Nature of Adaptation: Myth and the Feminine Gaze in Ang Lee’s Sense and Sensibility.
  • Singh, Cinephilia: Or, Looking for Meaningfulness in Encounters with Cinema.
  • MillerTwilight: Discourse Theory and Jung.
  • Bassil-Morozow, Individual and Society in the Films of Tim Burton.

Part III: Image, Type and Archetype

  • Dougherty, The Shadow: Constriction, Transformation and Individuation in Campion’s The Piano.
  • Lennihan, The Dark Feminine in Aronofsky’s The Wrestler.
  • Paganopoulos, The Archetype of Transformation in Maya Derren’s Film Rituals.
  • Palmer, Coppola’s The Conversation: Typology and a Caul to the Soul.
  • Waddell, Navel Gazing: Introversion/Extraversion and Australian Cinema.
  • BeebeThe Wizard of Oz: A Vision of Development in the American Political Psyche.

 

Review

“They’re back! The relentless creative output of the post-Jungian critique of film rolls on and you can’t ignore them. In this, their second volume of movie analyses, these writers – some academics, some clinicians, some both – have returned in strength. While many psychoanalytic approaches to the moving image are starting to feel a little… what shall we say?… tired, the Jung-dude abides! And judging by the take-up of the first Jung and Film by Media and Film departments, clinical trainings and industry creatives alike, the out of date resistance to all things Jungian has witnessed a fast dissolve. These chapters are erudite, funny, sexy, sometimes a little weird. They offer tight close-ups and wide shots. They tell you about the psychology of film and the psychology of those who make film. Like with Coppola’s The Godfather – this sequel could be even better than what went before.”

Andrew Samuels, University of Essex, UK

Here is a sample from one of the chapters authored by Christopher Hauke in this book:

Much begins amusingly and leads into the dark

Jung’s popular cinema and the Other
Christopher Hauke
Shadow, Other, and Jung’s “Hell has its levels”

The Shadow archetype is the obverse to self-identity – it is the Other to all we think we are. Shadow may be defined as that with which we do not identify, that which is rejected as “not me”. To struggle with the Shadow and to confront the abject, is one of the tasks of individuation – fulfilling ones potential as a unique human being. Throughout The Red Book (Jung, 2009), the record of Jung’s self-exploration through fantasies and paintings started 1913, Jung reports his struggle with many opposed and rejected parts of his nature such as the feminine in himself, the banal, the irrational and magic – all that Jung consciously rejected but now finds he has to include in his being.

At several moments, we find Jung suggesting there may be a place in Hell for the Shadow aspects of psyche which he detects in himself and may be found in many of us. One Hell is for those who reject an affinity with cinema, another is populated by those who reject any identity with the imprisoned, and a third is for people who so hang on to conscious life that they never consider death. While these levels of Hell seem quite different – some apparently banal, some profound – what they have in common is that they are all about rejection. Such acts of exclusion and rejection initiate the struggle with the Shadow archetype.

Ever since the Lumiere Brothers first screened their films in Paris in 1895, popular cinema has been met with rejection and disdainfully valued lower than theatre and other performance arts. Just as the popular novel cannot compare to “literature”, both are accused of being purely commercial and banal. But as any struggle with what we reject and despise in the end brings us more self-understanding, we propose that a similar struggle with popular film – the rejected shadow of film-as-art – is worthwhile. The Red Book is Jung’s record of his struggle with the opposing parts of himself and the contemporary psyche in general – which includes encounters with popular cinema and the banal. In this period of his thinking and fantasising, Jung is at the start of an individuation crisis where everything he once believed and valued is getting turned upon its head; an agonising crisis brought on by rifts between Jung and the psychoanalytic community, and his sensitivity to the turmoil of Europe at that time. This struggle lasted several years and was a process which would eventually deliver for Jung his own unique insights which became formulated as analytical psychology.

“Bewitched by the banal”

Jung uses a technique of active imagination by which he lets himself drop into his unconscious to see where it leads him, and in one of the early fantasies in The Red Book this involves his struggle with the banal.

Jung encounters a maiden in distress who states she is being held in captivity by her father – not from hatred but out of love, as she is the image of his deceased wife. He first regards the maiden as a cliché – a character from a cheap romantic novel and despairs,

“is this not some hellish banality? Word for word, pulp fiction from the lending library?”

(Jung, 2009: 262)

He is scathing of his own psyche producing such corny material.

“To what nonsense am I damned? Is it my soul that harbours such novelistic brilliance? [. . .] I am truly in Hell – the worst awakening after death, to be resurrected in a lending library! Have I held the men of my time and their taste in such contempt that I must live in Hell and write out the novels that I have already spat upon long ago?”

(ibid.)

Despite wondering what possible value can he find in this trash, Jung pursues a conversation with the maiden:

I: ‘My dear child, I believe you, despite everything, that you are real. What can I do for you?’ [. . .]

She: ‘What can you do for me? You have already done much for me. You spoke the redeeming word when you no longer placed the banal between you and me. Know then: I was bewitched by the banal.’

In pursuing our position on popular cinema, I take up this idea of being “bewitched by the banal” as referring to how a core engagement with what is rejected and despised challenges us to re-assess what we reject in ourselves. I will use the example of a pair of popular film genres that are closely connected – the vampire and the gangster. I will discuss the new vampire movies shortly, but suffice it to say here that until very recently, the vampire films which were popular throughout the 1960s and 1970s seemed to have disappeared. The fact is, from the mid 1970s onward, their vampiric bloodletting had been surpassed and taken on by the gangster movie. As examples of popular cinema the vampire film and the gangster film have two levels in common: at the level of consumption and production such populist movies are seen as a banal form of popular entertainment, holding little artistic merit and contributing even less to a knowledge of ourselves. Second, at the level of content and narrative, the vampire and the gangster are both about being rejected – those who appear human, but are outside the human sphere, lacking the very humanity that defines us. Click here to buy this book on Amazon and read more!

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