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This pseudo-biographical movie depicts 5 years from 1885 on in the life of the Viennan psychologist Freud (1856-1939). At this time, most of his colleagues refuse to cure hysteric patients, because they believe they're just simulating to gain attention. But Freud learns to use hypnosis to find out the reasons for the psychosis. His main patient is a young woman who refuses to drink water and is plagued by always the same nightmare. Written by
Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>
Since ancient times there have been three great changes in man's idea of himself. Three major blows dealt us in our vanity. Before Copernicus, we thought we were the centre of the universe, that all the heavenly bodies revolved around our Earth. But the great astronomer shattered that conceit and we were forced to admit our planet is but one of many which swing around the sun, that there are other systems beyond our solar system in myriad worlds. Before Charles Darwin man believed he was a ...
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It's always interesting to see how the art of cinema... a form of expression which much too often suffers under an audience and financial backers who demand simple entertainment, easily taken in and processed... deals with topics that are more complex and intricate than can be explained to the common movie-goer in a limited space of time, that being between an hour and a half and about three hours(in recent years, there has been a return of the longer running times... for better or for worse, and with ranging success). Psycho-analysis was also dealt with by the master of suspense himself, Alfred Hitchcock... in Spellbound, in 1945. He, as Huston does here, gave it a fair treatment, though oversimplifying it some. What's interesting is that Huston, while his film seems to be the lesser known, is actually the better representation of the subject(though, mind you, not necessarily the better film). This deals with Freud and his discoveries, following him for half a decade, giving what may be a fairly accurate account of his first work with hypnosis and psycho-analysis. We see a few of his patients, and the film focuses on him as he works on one particular patient... whose symptoms strongly resemble some he, to a (considerably) lesser degree has himself, and we experience how he develops and presents(and is met with strong protest and outrage, as he indeed was in real life) one theory which would become a cornerstone of his psychological writings and his view on man. I will not reveal what it is here, but anyone should know what he believed before watching this, since it is a rather provocative idea(and it is somewhat glorified in this film... Freud comes across as more of a misunderstood genius than the hopeful man(who did yield some important and interesting discoveries) that he was in real life). The cinematic values of the film are fine... the pace could have been more consistent(it should be noted that I watched a cut that was 120 minutes, not 139, long), and there are one or two scenes which seem obsolete, but there's little else that stands out, neither positively nor negatively. The film's score is dramatic, but that is not uncommon for a movie of that period. There are several nice touches in the film, in regards to who it is about... among them the Freudian slip in a scene with a patient. I recommend this to anyone interested in psychology, regardless of their view on Freud... it's interesting to watch, and fairly nicely done, to boot. Just keep in mind that it's neither a documentary nor a proper biographical film. 7/10
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