Critical Flicker Fusion: Psychoanalysis at the Movies

Author(s) : William Fried

Part of CIPS (Confederation of Independent Psychoanalytic Societies) Boundaries of Psychoanalysis series - more in this series

Critical Flicker Fusion: Psychoanalysis at the Movies

Book Details

  • Publisher : Karnac Books
  • Published : November 2016
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 184
  • Category :
    Culture and Psychoanalysis
  • Category 2 :
    Psychoanalysis
  • Catalogue No : 38886
  • ISBN 13 : 9781782204787
  • ISBN 10 : 1782204784
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The premise of this book is that films, like other works of the imagination, may be elucidated by applying methods derived from psychoanalysis, and that doing so will result in a deeper and richer appreciation of the film’s meaning. The book explores a number of feature films that lend themselves particularly well to this process. Both in his introduction and throughout the text, the author comments on the method and discusses continuities, similarities and differences among the films.

The book is structured according to the central themes of the films, including time and death, love and lust, secrets, and human identity. Some of the films are relevant to more than one of these thematic elements. The introductory essay explores the themes, their representation in the films, and the ways in which they may be elucidated by a psychoanalytically informed critique. Brief paragraphs between the sections of the book facilitate the transitions.

In an appendix, there are three essays titled 'Mise-en-scene,' 'Whatever Flames Upon the Night,' and 'Mad Doctors.' They are relevant to the similarities among movies, dreams and clinical psychoanalysis. From divergent perspectives, they discuss the ways in which acts of representation are fundamentally transgressive and thereby affect alterations in consciousness for those who witness them.

Reviews and Endorsements

‘Dr Fried brings to the fore the power of “reel” texts, translating them into written ones with wit and delicious eloquence. Each chapter reveals Fried’s unique ability to read images with something akin to an analytic “third eye”. In so doing he unveils the hidden subtexts of his chosen films. The book is an invitation to conduct a dialogue between literature and psychoanalytically informed knowledge. Dr Fried’s style evokes the forerunners of our discipline who have always relied on literary masterpieces to shed light onto clinical phenomena. Critical Flicker Fusion is a brilliant contribution to contemporary attempts to delve into the rich sub-texts of cultural products. It ought to be mandatory reading for those in training to become mental health practitioners, as well as for those interested in appreciating the inherent multilayers of cinematic narratives.’
- Dr Isaac Tylim, Clinical Associate Professor and Consultant at New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis and fellow of the International Psychoanalytical Association

‘A delightful psychological companion for film lovers everywhere, Critical Flicker Fusion interprets film as imaginative work of the deeper dimensions of the mind. Fried walks us through a number of films with the skill of a master clinician, closely analyzing the openings, plots, and characters of a number of films while revealing their unconscious, relational and psychodynamic patterns and thus arriving at deeper and richer meanings. Here the dialogue between film and psychoanalysis enriches our knowledge about what it means to be human. I recommend it to all who wish to expand their understanding and experience of cinema and the human condition.’
- Danielle Knafo, PhD, author of Dancing with the Unconscious: The Art of Psychoanalysis and the Psychoanalysis of Art

‘In this rich collection of essays William Fried shares his thinking about secrets, transgression, boundaries and their violation, unconscious dynamics, love and lust, time and death, human identity and more, in film. It is not only the creativity of his thinking that he offers, but also a window into his ways of thinking, allowing us to reflect on our own ways of responding to film and take these to new limits.’
- Darlene Bregman Ehrenberg, PhD, ABPP, author of The Intimate Edge: Extending the Reach of Psychoanalytic Interaction

About the Author(s)

William Fried is a clinical psychologist, psychoanalyst, photographer, educator, author, and editor. He practices in New York City. Until 2000, he was the associate director of psychiatry residency training and the director of training and education at the Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY. In 2000 the Association for Academic Psychiatry named him Teacher of the Year. He has been president of Section I (Psychoanalyst Practitioners) of the Division of Psychoanalysis, American Psychological Association and is a contributing editor of the DIVISIO

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