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A Dangerous Method (2011)
Why deny what you desire the most.
Director: David Cronenberg

Seduced by the challenge of an impossible case, the driven Dr. Carl Jung takes the unbalanced yet beautiful Sabina Spielrein as his patient. Jung’s weapon is the method of his master, the renowned Sigmund Freud. Both men fall under Sabina’s spell.

A Dangerous Method (2011)

Dream Wetness

Doggone. Here is one of the most compelling and deep stories in history. And we have a filmmaker who knows the territory well and has changed my life elsewhere. But the magic is missed here because someone made the decision to show us too much and explain as we go.

The story is fascinating. As a matter of record, Freud changed the world. Coming hard on the heels of Darwin, he rode a wave of scientific expectation that everything in the universe was susceptible to logic. Darwin broke a barrier by explaining events that could not be directly observed. Freud extended this to emotions, urges and the like, creating a model that made sense.

Though there are still adherents of the model, it was clear from the outset that it was true but not particularly useful. We now work — more or less universally — from a model developed by Jung that has all sorts of interesting soft corners and presentations. This is an interesting set of stories, how a science of the mind found a welcome moment to appear; how the ‘selling model’ has to differ from the ‘working model’ and how pride of authorship comically gets in the way.

But much, much more interesting is the story about Jung’s development of his ideas, which predominantly grew within sex-centered collaboration. The end result — as fascinating and useful as it is — is the product of an even more fascinating process of discovery-by-doing, of exploration of self by dissolving self in a partner fully, then by shared introspection sorting out the bits. You discover the shape of edges by cutting yourself on them.

And the story is even more thrilling when you know that this involved many women, including both colleagues and patients and sometimes overlapping relationships — overlapping both in women and roles. I know Nash’s story better in this regard, but Jung’s constructions underlie everything we encounter. And that includes much of current thinking about film.

So, doggonit again because Cronenberg could have given us this. In fact, he has in some other projects, without tying it to Jungian events. And shucks that it was all rolled into one woman and that woman played by a professional inadequate. And shucks that the relationship is depicted as a conventional affair that surrounds rather than penetrates. And shucks for all the rest.

The one good thing about this is that it allows us to reference something that was real, is still vital, and which drives some of us in story and deep wetnesses.

Posted in 2012

Ted’s Evaluation — 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.


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