Freud and Film
Films are probably the closest medium we have to experiencing the inexplicable quality of the dream in our waking lives. Rich in symbol, metaphor, movement and mystery, films, like dreams, enable us to participate in another reality, and, through that participation, to be transformed. Films are like dreams and dreams interpret symbolism in ways science has not even fully discovered yet. The images and symbols within a film are unending and unaccountable. Even the creators of films themselves cannot be aware of the unconscious impact of them all. Imagine the impact of a movie that was full of imagery that only, in its unconscious capacity, complimented the narrative.
The film, October, contains an overwhelming amount of rich imagery. Perhaps this is because it is forced to because of its lack of verbal communication. When we watch the soldier standing outside the door of what I assume to be the royal chambers in October and the shots within the scene show his hands fidgeting, we assume he is nervous and even become nervous ourselves. Why? This is the type of question which plagues me in retrospect of watching the film, October, since Psychology is my main interest of study at University.
When we see the soldiers hands fidgeting we associate this with anxiousness or nervousness because we have done this or have seen someone else do the same when they were anxious or nervous. Some symbols may be applicable to only certain people or all people depending on individual or collective knowledge and experience. The point is this is much more effective then having the character say, "I am nervous". The fact we feel slightly nervous ourselves is due to the fact that, through "wish fulfillment", we identify with the film in an intimate way. The scope of symbols and their unconscious effect is not yet fully realized or defined, although there are dream dictionaries available today which attempt to help us do this. If science ever does discover the symbolism behind all the different images which may be used in film and how to use them it will revolutionize the industry and films will become much more deeply impactive and culturally embedded in our day to day lives then they are even today.
If Sigmund Freud were alive today and studying film he would argue that mise-en-scene is the most important part of film because of its potential for communication through symbolism. Freud suggests that dreams are a process of "wish fulfillment". Freud considred dreams to be a manifestation of the fulfillment of a wish. Taking into account the fact that our dreams often take the form of a story in which we are the protagonist, the totally egotistical nature of dreams, it would make sense for us, as an audience, to identify with the protagonist on screen when we are in a dream enduced state such as in the cinema. When one is in a sleep-like environment, such as the cinema, it is easy to see how through the unconscious process of ...