Psychoanalytic Film Theory

(Photo sourced from google)      Post from my other film blog

Psychoanalytic Film theory first came about after filmmakers started to use psychoanalysis in film. It’s based on Sigmund Freud’s theory that things that happen to you when you are a child, will unconsciously affect you as an adult. They took this theory and used it in film to develop characters further and is mainly used to look into how the unconscious of the filmmaker, character or audience effects the film. I am going to see how psychoanalytic symbolism are used in The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012) and Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins (2005).

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is great example of how childhood trauma can affect the characters ability to function in society. In this film the main character Charlie is deeply affected by the fact when he was young his auntie molested him. Because of this trauma Charlie can not build relationships and function as a normal teen, all because of his past. Not only is he haunted by the fact he was molested, but also that his auntie later died in a car accident. Charlie took the trauma and his aunties passing and told himself it was his fault she died, he did not hate is auntie he actually loved and missed her. She was the sole reason for his social anxiety, as she was the only one he felt connected to. This film uses a lot of montages to show the confusion and anxiety Charlie feels, and its use of colour easily takes him back to his childhood. All these devices plus others like the use of camera angles (such as the Dutch tilt) help guide the theory and explain it to the audience.

The second film I’m looking at is Batman Begins. Most superhero movies use the psychoanalytic film theory to give the character a great backstory, that push them to become this extraordinary person. In Batman, Bruce Wayne decided to become this superhero as his parents were killed by one of the many lawbreakers in Gotham City. This led to him wanting to change the city his parents loved, by trying to clean it up and keep it safe. Bruce Wayne would of never became Batman if he didn’t suffer the trauma of loosing his parents as a child, this trauma affected him greatly so affected his decisions as an adult.



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