Sabina and Cronenberg

I found the film very interesting. It is a pity Cronenberg didn’t show Jung 20cms taller than Freud, which he actually was, neither Jung picking Freud from the ground in his arms.

The only way a think the question of Jung’s reasons for him to “fall for Sabina Spielrein” is pertinent is that the actress is not a tenth as beautiful as Sabina was, neither does she look slightly as intelligent as Sabina was. I tried to find Sabina’s photo on the cloud, but I couldn’t. A pity. It is very difficult to resist a beautiful and intelligent woman and seductive woman who decides to seduce. And Jung was not a fortress. On the contrary ! He needed two women in his life. Emma Jung was not only a rich bourgeois. Some letters of hers to Freud really show an intelligent woman, really caring for Jung. Neither Jung has a “nervous breakdown”. He went fully through an schizophrenic crises. Try to read his Red Book! Its worst than Schreber’s.

There is another sad thing : it seems that Cronenberg needs strong scenes to try to suggest Sabina was a masochist. When we read her hospital files, we see that her masochism was quite different than what Cronenberg suggests. To have her hands gently squeezed would be perceived by her as an intense pain. She would have delusions of being forced to something she hated. But I don’t think she would have needed to be spanked. If she could ask for being spanked, she would not have been a psychotic.

I agree that Sabina was the motor in their history. Carotenutto and other have written a beautiful book, a documentary about this affair. There is no hint of Freud ever thinking about a death drive before Sabina’s paper on “Destruction as Cause…” But this was Freud’s style : “You have a very good idea, I have had it before, thank you for developping it.” Or “You had a very good idea, but you missed the core of the problem. Here it is.”

Just a last word: the final discussion about Amenophis in fact was an argument between Freud and Abraham.

But all in all, it seems to me it is a very good film. The supposed erotic scenes are useless. Of course Sabina was masochist. If she had not been a masochist, she would never get attached to Jung. But nothing proves she could make her masochism erogenous.

One comment

  1. I briefly looked at Jung's "Red Book" (in the wake of the film, they are displaying it now in bookstores): it looked like the eccentric child of William Blake, Henry Darger and the Douanier Rousseau!  Great reference.

    About the spanking scenes: may be the filmmakers assumed a contemporary film-goer wouldn't understand (or "see") masochism without a spanking scene? Plus it is spectacular.  Or they were convinced that spanking and such was really going on between the two of them – meaning that today we should show what was yesterday left more "muted".  In any case, the erotic scenes in this film deserve a detailed consideration, since they blend different strands of the film's argument, as you hint at.

    In terms of Spielrein's not sufficiently acknowledged intellectual influence – it seems the "anxiety of influence"  (creative, intellectual, sexual influence, etc) played a major role in the early days of psychoanalysis.  A blog entry could be written about plagiarism, authorship and psychoanalysis, specifically what the status is of something like "unconscious" plagiarism.

    Recently had an interesting discussion about plagiarism:

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