A Dangerous Method

Film director: 
David Cronenberg
Event date: 
Thu, 01/03/2012

This event, sponsored by the Welsh Psychiatric Society, explored popular and professional attitudes towards psychoanalysis in Edwardian society, the depiction of psychiatrists in film, Sigmund Freud's Welsh connection, representations of gender and agency, and the relationship between psychoanalysis and Buddhism.

Articles on this film:

Psychoanalysis and Buddhism: Three Phases of a Cultural Encounter

We might say that psychoanalysis and Buddhism are both therapies; diagnosing and alleviating our psychological or existential suffering. But the productive, one hundred year dialogue on the margins of these traditions did not begin quite so auspiciously.Phase 1: OrientalismFreud and Jung famously fell out over the issue of spirituality.

Gender and Agency in A Dangerous Method

It can be argued that Cronenberg’s movie is doubly fascinating for film scholars, since it is not only a text that can be read from a psychoanalytic perspective, but is also a movie about psychoanalysis. Given that recent screen theory research has begun to criticise many of the key arguments in the field for their narrowly phallocentric approach, it is also interesting that this theme is itself mirrored in the film’s narrative through Jung’s criticisms of Freud’s analytic work, in which everything is always and ultimately “about sex”.

Psychiatrists on the Silver Screen

I have a special interest in the relationship between psychiatry and the visual arts, film and multimedia, and I often use film clips when teaching psychiatry to medical students at Cardiff University School of Medicine. Films can engage students and can help demonstrate mental health issues, for example various mental states and disorders.

History, Psychoanalysis and A Dangerous Method

In using the intellectual and emotional ménage à trois between Jung, Freud and Spielrein to explore Edwardian debates about psychoanalysis, Cronenberg uses history in particular ways.