Freud: Conflict & Culture

Lecture Series

In conjuction with The Smithsonian Associates Program
October 15–December 3, 1998

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Film Series

At the Library of Congress
October 15–January 14, 1998

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About the Film Series

The film series to accompany the Library of Congress exhibition Sigmund Freud: Conflict and Culture is an attempt to at least touch upon the vast array of cinematic interpretations of Freudian thought. In a sense, every film does this (as Christian Metz points out by likening the language of cinema to Freud's notions of dreamwork), but we've taken a more literal approach: almost all our presentations deal in some way with the actual work of psychoanalysis as practiced by Freud. At its most fundamental level, this includes such techniques as the "talking cure" and free association, but also addresses central concepts like the Oedipal myth and the interpretation of dreams.

The series includes some obvious choices such as the John Huston Freud biopic that opens the schedule on October 15, Spellbound on October 22 (indeed, we could have chosen at least a dozen more Hitchcocks), the great German expressionist masterpiece The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (November 17), and the highly amusing Seven Percent Solution (December 15). Along the way, however, are some rarely seen films from the Library's vast holdings: Deluxe Annie (November 4) and The Case of Becky (December 3), two silent era films about split personalities, Blind Alley (December 1), an important early work in which the psychiatrist is portrayed as a godlike figure, as well as an assortment of shorts from the Paper Print collection, home movies of Freud himself, cartoons, and television episodes.

In addition, we are delighted to debut two new prints from our Motion Picture Preservation Lab. Free Love (December 2) marks one of the very first appearances of a psychiatrist in an American film (although, admittedly, he dispenses some awful advice), while The Florentine Dagger, which closes the series on January 14, is a striking explication of psychological turmoil reflected both in the acting and set design. We will also feature a continuation of Friday night National Film Registry screenings this season in addition to a small series mounted in conjunction with the Israel at 50 exhibition.

RESERVATIONS may be made by phone, beginning one week before any given show. Call (202) 707-5677 during business hours (Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.). Reserved seats must be claimed at least 10 minutes before showtime, after which standbys will be admitted to unclaimed seats. All programs are free, but seating is limited to 64 seats.