Those studying film now will be aware that psychoanalysis is not necessarily a favoured approach when it comes to researching film and the moving image. In fact, one feels the need to defend oneself if discussing the moving image in light of psychoanalytic theory. It is the aim of this chapter, then, to do exactly that - to offer up some of the key criticisms of psychoanalysis and to suggest how in fact it is still a valid and useful approach when analysing film. The approach in this chapter is to outline two key debates in order to highlight the pitfalls and uses of psychoanalysis. Firstly, one of the central debates in psychoanalytic theory is that of feminist criticism; this was integral to the Screen discussions during the 1970s, and beyond, and is important because it highlights how psychoanalysis has been both appropriated and repudiated by critics. Secondly this chapter will outline the major criticisms levelled at psychoanalysis during the ‘post theory’ debates initiated by David Bordwell and Noel Carroll (1996).
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