Retrospectatorship: Reading Films With Psychoanalysis

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Monday, September 15, 2014 - 16:30 to Thursday, September 18, 2014 - 19:00
Seminar with Teresa De Lauretis
Concordia University
The notion of spectatorship, introduced by feminist film critics in the 1970s and developed throughout the 1990s, transformed the theory of the cinematic apparatus into a theory of cinema as a social technology. By taking into account the spectator’s subjective response to a film based on identification, fantasy, and memory, cinema has been understood as playing a role in the production of subjectivity. The seminar is devoted to how a film is “read” (seen, heard, understood, subjectively received, and/or remembered) in the mode Patricia White has called “retrospectatorship,” a viewing shaped by the experiences, fantasies, and memories it elicits in the spectator. Relevant psychoanalytic concepts will be discussed and, whenever possible, illustrated with reference to films.
 
Films to be discussed include:
The Bride of Frankenstein (dir. James Whale, 1935)
Cat People (dir. Jacques Tourneur, prod. Val Lewton, 1942)
I Walked with a Zombie (dir. Jacques Tourneur, prod. Val Lewton, 1943)
M. Butterfly or eXistenZ (dir. David Cronenberg, 1993, 1999)
 
Critical texts to be discussed include:
T. de Lauretis, Freud’s Drive: Psychoanalysis, Literature and Film (2008)
P. White, “Retrospectatorship,” in Uninvited (1999)
J. Laplanche and J.-B. Pontalis, “Fantasy and the Origins of Sexuality”
S. Freud, “Instincts and Their Vicissitudes”
S. Freud, “Beyond the Pleasure Principle”
 
Co-sponsored by the Feminist Media Studio, the Communication Studies department, the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema, ARTHEMIS, the Canada Research Chair in Feminist Media Studies, and the Concordia Research Chair in Transnational Media Arts & Culture.

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