Surrealism and Psychoanalysis

Hence, there is no denying the importance of the fact, that the mentioned episode is characterized by certain philosophical content. Moreover, another feature that links Surrealist representation to Real, is that each object in the film is endowed with consciousness. The next episodes portray the killing of his father by the ‘lover’, which clearly represents Freudian allusions to Oedipus complex.

To sum it up, notwithstanding the absence of the clear structure, Bunuel’s and Dali’s film has clear connection with reality, which is realized through its mediation by dream logic, Freudian psychoanalysis and perceptional amplification (Rabinowitch, 25). In this way, the authors try to show the audience the traumatic, dangerous and ugly sides of human subjectivity and reality, which are excluded from existing cultural discourses. In Hitchcock’s Spellbound, unlike Bunuel’s and Dali’s film, surrealist episodes do not constitute the essence of the film, but instead play functional role.

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Hitchcock is also obviously affected by psychoanalysis, because his film opens with the words, highlighting the virtues of the psychoanalysis in restoring reason. The plot of the film is logically coherent in contrast to Un Chien Andalou. The surrealist episodes in the film play functional role as they present certain phobias of Dr. Anthony Edwards. For instance, the latter refers to portraying his phobia of seeing parallel lines on the white background, as it is reflected in his horror of seeing the diagram, drawn with the fork on tablecloth.

Soon it is revealed that Dr. Edwards is false person, who is suffering from amnesia, and as Dr. Peterson supposes, a guilt complex. The police and the workers in the mental hospital make him a suspect in the death of real Dr. Edwards. However, Dr. Petersen is sure that false Dr. Edwards is innocent and, using psychoanalytic methods of analysis, tries to interpret his dream. The dream sequence, which was designed by Salvador Dali, represents one of the central surrealist episodes in the entire film.

The dream sequence is full of images and signs with strong surrealist and psychoanalytic connotations – eyes, scissors, playing with cards, a man without a face, a falling man etc. The interpretation, made by Dr. Petersen helps false Dr. Edwards return his memory and he remembers that the real Dr. Edwards died, when skiing. Moreover, false Dr. Edwards remembers his childhood, when he accidentally killed his younger brother and Dr. Petersen reveals that the latter developed guilt complex and amnesia in him.

However, the recollections are not intact and Dr. Petersen’s interpretation fails to explain to police why Dr. Edwards had a bullet in his body. Only later when John Ballantine (false Dr. Edwards) is detained and convicted of homicide, she understood the meanings of some episodes in his dream and revealed, that the real murderer was Dr. Murchison, who became the new director in the mental hospital. Hence, the truth is revealed and Dr. Petersen and Ballantine are reunited.

Based on the analysis of the Spellbound’s plot, it is evident that surrealist episodes, used by Hitchcock are designed to expose the reality and truth, rather than to hide it from viewers. Hence, Surrealism in this film is evidently designed to reveal new sides of reality, which are mysterious due to the lack of objective knowledge. In this way, Hitchcock shows the positive role of surrealism and psychoanalysis, as its philosophical basis. Conclusion Present analysis proved that Surrealism should not be regarded as merely an irrational fantasy as some critiques contend.

Surrealism has deep links with psychoanalysis, which was historically one of the most effective weapons of cultural and ideological critique. One of its basic purposes was revealing true contours of Real, which are hidden by cultural codes, repressive morality and social norms. Proceeding from these fact, present study showed how Bunuel’s and Dali’s Un Chien Andalou and Hitchcock’s Spellbound help reveal more truth about reality, than traditional realist films, which are based on common sense and causal understanding of events.

The analyzed surrealist films are critical of traditional narrativity and easiness of interpretation, because in fact such simplicity is based on everyday ideology. In Un Chien Andalou surrealist episodes are designed to amplify the perception and experience of the Real, characterized by traumatic, destabilizing and dangerous consequences for human subjectivity. In the same vein, Hitchcock Spellbound seeks to portray the positive role of surrealist images in revealing the truth and restoring the justice.

Hitchcock metaphorically shows that there are a lot of cases, when objective knowledge is inadequate and partial. The same may be said about the reality, which often show only its surface, hiding the truth within. In such situations, Surrealism and Psychoanalysis are effective in bringing additional meanings and interpreting signs, that help us understand the truth.


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