Hitchcock & Psychoanalysis

Hitchcock & Psychoanalysis, page 1
page 1 – page 2DoppelgangersHitchcock’s mothers
scopophilia, the gaze, fetishism

During Hitchcock’s career, the main ‘scientific’ explanations for human behavior derived from the theories of the Austrian psychologist Sigmund Freud, founder of psychoanalysis. Psychoanalysis is both a therapeutic method and a theory of the mind and its effect on behavior. Psychoanalysis permeated American popular culture during the 1920s, and its notions were widespread in books and movies for the next half century.

Hitchcock was skeptical of psychoanalysis, as he was of all attempts to explain human behavior. Nevertheless, he drew upon psychoanalysis in many movies, most notably Spellbound (where the main characters are psychoanalysts), Psycho (which has a long psychiatrist’s speech at the end), and Marnie. Psychoanalytical notions are also important in Shadow of a Doubt, Rope, Rear Window, The Wrong Man, Vertigo, and Frenzy.

Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) holding a phallic symbol)
Psychiatrists in Hitchcock’s movies
Werner Klemperer as the psychiatrist in The Wrong Man. Hitchcock rarely shoots his psychiatrist characters in closeups, keeping them distanced from the audience.
Michael Chekhov as the kindly Dr. Brulov (clearly resembling Freud) in Spellbound. The heroine, played by Ingrid Bergman, is also a psychoanalyst.
Raymond Bailey as the psychiatrist in Vertigo. “He’s suffering from acute melancholia complicated by a guilt commplex.”

Simon Oakland as the pompous psychiatrist in Psycho. (This is a detail of a wider shot.) “A psychiatrist . . . merely tries to explain.”
Freudian theories relevant to Hitchcock’s movies

The most basic Freudian insight is that the subconscious mind harbors various desires and impulses, often those which are unacceptable to the individual’s conscious mind or forbidden in society. The individual is characteristically only dimly aware, or unaware, of these subconscious desires. Psychotherapy seeks to bring them into consciousness.

Hitchcock’s characters frequently behave in ways that suggest subconscious or unconscious motivations. In addition, Hitchcock’s manipulation of his audience typically seeks to identify the viewer with these desires and behaviors of characters.

Repressed memory
Freud believed that traumatic events, usually from childhood, are repressed by the conscious mind. However, these destructive memories remain in the subconscious, where they are the source of neuroses and psychoses. The purpose of psychoanalysis is to recover these repressed memories so that the patient can deal with them in the conscious mind.

For Freud, most repressed memories relate to sexuality. One type, for example, derives from the primal scene, where the child witnesses his parents having sex, then represses the memory of the scene. In Psycho, Norman Bates is said to have murdered his mother and her lover after finding them in bed together. Similarly, in Marnie the heroine’s neurotic behavior is traced back to witnessing her prostitute mother being abused by a sex partner.

Neurotic episodes can be triggered by events or symbols in a person’s everyday life, even though the person may not understand the connection.

In Marnie, the color red terrifies Marnie. Eventually her neurosis is traced back to the violent episode in her childhood.

In Spellbound, the trigger is parallel lines on a light background. Through psychoanalysis, the source is recovered from the hero’s childhood, when he accidentally caused a death involving an iron fence (thus the parallel lines).

The Oedipal complex & Momism
The best known of Freud’s theories about childhood sexuality is named for the mythological king Oedipus, who killed his father and married his mother. As Freud described the complex, a young boy is sexually attracted to his mother, and as a result desires to kill his father in order to possess the mother. This forbidden desire is then repressed, only to return later in neurotic form.

In popular Freudianism, mothers are often seen as encouraging the Oedipal complex through possessive or flirtatious behavior toward sons. As Norman Bates tells Marion Crane, “a boy’s best friend is his mother.” (But also: “A son is a poor substitute for a lover.”)

In Psycho, the psychiatrist reports that Norman’s mother “was a clinging, demanding woman, and for years the two of them lived as if there was no one else in the world. Then she met a man, and it seemed to Norman that she threw him over for this man. Now that pushed him over the line and he killed them both.”


Tinggalkan Balasan

Isikan data di bawah atau klik salah satu ikon untuk log in:

Logo WordPress.com

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Logout /  Ubah )

Foto Google+

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Logout /  Ubah )

Gambar Twitter

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Logout /  Ubah )

Foto Facebook

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Logout /  Ubah )


Connecting to %s

%d blogger menyukai ini: