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PROJECTIONS: Neurosis on Film

02/19/2018 19:00

open to public
Organizer: Freud Museum London
Venue: Freud Museum London
20 Maresfield Gardens
NW3 5SX London
United Kingdom
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PROJECTIONS: Neurosis on Film
Six-week evening course
Scottish physician William Cullen first employed the term ‘neurosis’ in 1769 to summarise "general diseases of the sense or motion" where there appeared to be no observable organic cause. Sigmund Freud redefined and popularised the neurosis diagnosis in the 20th century, developing it as a central construct in psychoanalytic theory and practice.

Freud believed that when a person is unable to consciously process trauma from the past (e.g., childhood abuse), they repress the agonising memories and feelings related to the event. Over time, the individual does not recall the original incident; instead they exhibit a series of nervous symptoms, such as anxiety, sadness, perfectionism, irritability, low self-worth, phobic avoidance and obsessive thoughts.

Freud noted that neurosis is a state of emotional conflict preventing ordinary people from enjoying life, a condition he differentiated from the more severe psychotic structure that indicates a detachment from reality via delusions and hallucinations. In his case study of Ernst Lanzer (the ‘Rat Man’), Freud provided a comprehensive analysis of the neurotic individual as displaying an inability to accept change in their surroundings, with pronounced difficulties in managing life patterns, and a resistance in the pursuit of satisfying experiences.

Whilst neurosis was eliminated from the DSM in 1980 as an official psychiatric category, it remains interesting as a theoretical concept, and the film medium supplies a uniquely effective discourse for communicating the convoluted network of neurotic symptoms. PROJECTIONS: Neurosis On Film is a 6-week course exploring cinematic representations of neurotic conditions (e.g., hysteria, obsessional neurosis, melancholia) and associated features such as linguistic quandaries, existential crises and the compulsion to repeat. We will source out archetypal ‘anally retentive’ film characters, those inhibited figures retreating from life, delaying commitment, fearful of punishment… to illustrate the quintessential neurotic preoccupation: what is the meaning of life?

Sigmund Freud Museum SFU Belvedere 21er haus stuhleck kunsthalle
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