Film and psychoanalysis
Barbara Creed
Psychoanalysis and the cinema were born at the end of the nineteenth century. They share a common historical, social, and cultural background shaped by the forces of modernity. Theorists commonly explore how psychoanalysis, with its emphasis on the importance of desire in the life of the individual, has influenced the cinema.
Not only did Freud draw on cinematic terms to describe his theories, as in ‘screen memories’, but a number of his key ideas were developed in visual terms-particularly the theory of castration
Further, as Freud (who loved Sherlock Holmes) was aware, his case histories unfold very much like popular mystery novels of the kind that were also adopted by the cinema from its inception.
Surrealism- deeply influences by Freud’s theory of dreams and his concept of the unconscious
Science fiction
Female characters present for the enjoyment of male protagonists (and viewers), the female form is also threatening (invokes man’s unconscious anxieties about sexual difference and castration):
“Either the male protagonist could deal with this threat (as in the films of Hitckcock) by subjecting woman to his sadistic gaze and punishing her for being different or he could deny her difference (as in films of Joseph von Sternberg and Marlene Dietrich) and fetishize her body by overvaluing a part of her body such as her legs or breasts.”