Category Bion

Teacher of Bad Film 1: Prologue

The experiences of cinema and psychoanalysis. Wartime. The mechanical ear of the analyst. Bion dreaming, buffalo running.

For a film goer to talk about a film they just saw – to truly talk about it: to account for their own experience of a film could be as difficult, or more, as talking in a psychoanalytic session.

Insofar as having an experience means communicating it to others – to oneself, included – can the film goer who, for a reason to be determined, wants to talk about it use an analyst to work him through a film or does he need to be taught how to recount an experience?

“Is there an analyst the filmgoer can see, a class they can take?” means: are analysis – itself, like film-going, a mimetic activity – and pedagogy – too overwhelmed or taken by the conscious and the normative – in a position not to see art as a rival human expression that can or must be spoken away? At their most dogmatic, both propose to cure the mimetic rival. At their most receptive, are they able to not bypass the question of art?

The French director Bruno Dumont says that cinema viewing is about confrontation and identification: it confronts us with ourselves – even though we seem to be taking in a spectacle – because we fill in what we think we, objectively, see. This strikes me as a complex argument but evident, once we allow ourselves to think it through, and, above all, imagine and remember. Our desires, frights, misunderstandings, personal taboos and disgusts construct our experience in the darkened room. I find I look for something in, rather than watch, a film. Our past errors, personal ghosts, hopes and contradictions – our blindness make up what we see. We short-circuit and panic, we pretend we saw something else and later claim we all saw the same film. We see what we interpret – or what we have to see. Cine