Analyze Your Inner Psycho

     Chapter six discussed the topic of psychoanalysis. The first part of the chapter focuses heavily on Frued’s theories surrounding scopophilia, subjectivity, unconcious, sexuality and castration complex. The second part of the chapter focuses on Laura Mulvey’s theoires surrounding Frued’s work and how his thoeries effect the way we view movies and images. I feel that psychoanalysis does have an effect on the way we view certain films and images. 

     When we as people watch films we, most of the time, do not psychoanalyze them. We do not question why we feel certain emotions toward certain characters, or how specific scenes are carefully constructed to evoke a certain kind of emotion. But unbeknownst to us as the movie audience all of these things are occuring because, “Films manipulate the visual, the spatial and the temporal and, as Laura Mulvey says, by ‘playing on the tension between film as controlling the dimension of time (editing, narrative) and film as controlling the dimension of space (changes in distance, editing), cinematic codes create a gaze, a world and an object’” (page 108).  Mulvey makes a solid argument about film in general. Although Mulvey’s theory does not apply to my specific scene from the movie V for Vendetta, her theories do apply to the movie has a whole. There are numerous scenes where the dimensions of time and space are manipulated. As a result the character Evey Hammond is seen as a women in distress that is saved by the more dominant and powerful male known as V.

     According to Freud we begin to develop our sexuality when we are infants based on the castration complex. “Masculinity is constituted by the boy-child feeling threatened by the father with castration if he does not give up his closeness to the mother” (page 113). Femininity “is produced by girl -child seeing themselves as lacking – as already castrated – and transferring their attachment from the mother to the father” (page 113). Mulvey argues that Frued’s thories could be accurate if he was refferring to a visuality rather than vision.  Mulvey discusses how “The boy child must already be seeing through a visuality that asserts that the masculine position is to look, the feminine is to be looked at, and that the feminine is to be seen as lacking” and argues that, “visuality is structured in this gendered way” (page 115). As a result we view characters as “active/male” and “passive/female”.

     Out of Mulvey’s theories on the castration complex came the concept of “voyeurism” which is “a way of seeing that is active; it distances and objectifies what is looked at.” In other words, it places the spotlight on the active/male role while leaving the passive/female role to be either punished or saved. In V for Vendetta this concept is illustrated. The character Evey Hammond who is playing the passive/female is both saved and punished. The spotlight is placed on the active/male role V because he is not only the hero to the people, he is also a hero to the girl. V for Vendetta is one of countless films where the idea of gendered visuality and traditional roles of masculinity and femininity are expressed.

     It is interesting how we as movie watchers and interpreters of the visual do not always notice the way films manipulate time and space to evoke a specific mindset. However, when we really begin to analyze films we begin to see how the idea of sexuality and the castration complex come into play. Although I do not agree completely with all of Freud’s theories, I do think there is some level of truth to some of them. I agree with Mulvey’s theories on the way we view femininity and masculinity, and why we view them the way we do. Sexuality is a huge factor when it comes to visuality and that is something that cannot be ignored.

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