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Discuss The Use Of Psychoanalytic Concepts Of Identification, Fetishism, Voyeurism And Narcissism To Cinema With Detailed Reference To At Lease One Film. Film: Basic Instinct

3124 words - 12 pages

Psychoanalysis and film have long encountered each other since both were born around the same time. It was in 1896 that Freud first used the term psychoanalysis only a year after the first screening of the Lumiere films in the Grande Café. A number of people have greatly influenced film theory using psychoanalysis including Mulvey and Lacan whose theories shall be explored in this essay. There are a number of basic Freudian ideas that must first be understood.Freud believed every human being has a sexual energy know as libido - this energy is found in a person right from birth and how this energy is sublimated or diverted away from sexual aims is one factor making each person different. According to Freud, there are five stages to life; the oral, anal, phallic, latency and puberty, each occurring in that order. In the oral stage pleasure is not gained through the genitals but is gained through oral activities. Sucking on a mothers breast is the first of these and through satisfying a babies sexual desires she becomes the first love object. During the phallic stage the child (boy or girl) notices the father to be a rival for the mothers love and attention. On discovering that, for example his mother or sister does not have a penis, a boy believes that the female has been castrated. In order to save himself from castration by his powerful father the boy must give up his mother as his love object and side with his father. Girls also believe themselves abnormal for not having a penis, she believes she has been castrated by her mother because she too lacks. For this she hates the mother and desires the father or rather she desires his penis. The only way in which she can over come this is to have children.When studying film it is noticeable that gender roles are very set and reflect the penis envy of women and the fear of castration for men. A film will usual seek to satisfy a man and limit the threat of castration. Helen Cioxus feminist angle on penis envy and castration fears shall also be discussed along with the work of Laura Mulvey, particularly her essay Visual Pleasure which discusses the role of women in Hollywood films. The role of fetishism as sublimated libido is also a topic that shall be considered.The mirror stage developed by Lacan is another important topic for discussion when studying film, particularly the role of the spectator. By 1975 "semiotic discussion came to be infected by psychoanalytical notions such as scopophillia, voyeurism and fetishism by Lacans conception of the mirror stage, the imagery and the symbolic". Lacan discusses the notion of 'the other' and the gaining of 'identification.' This is explained in terms of the 'mirror stage.' When a child recognises its own reflection in a mirror because of the effects of playing it begins to build up desires and an idealised self image in its head; 'the other.' It is suggested that upon watching a film a spectator may identify with a certain character; a male hero for...

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