Transmission: Cinema/ Psychoanalysis

16 September 2008 - 18 September 2008

CRASSH, Emmanuel College & Cambridge Arts Picturehouse


Isabelle McNeill Department of French
Abigail Loxham Department of Spanish and Portuguese
Jenny Chamarette Department of French
Steve Joy Department of German

Contact all conveners on:




The conference will focus around the theme of transmission in its exploration of relationships between cinema and psychoanalysis. This will contribute to discussions of cultural transmission relating to the CRASSH 2007-9 theme.

Various possible modes of Transmission will be explored:

  • The transmission of psychoanalytic discourse into film theory (re-visiting and re-assessing 1970s theory, Screen group, Metz, Mulvey etc., evaluating current relations between psychoanalysis and film theory)
  • The transmission of psychoanalytic scenarios into filmmaking (e.g. Hitchcock, Lang; can we uncover what was lost in translation? what is the cultural/historical significance of such transmission?)
  • Cinema as psychoanalysis: image, scene, time, speech, body, sound (how might cinema transmit psychoanalytically? Can cinema be conceived as a psychoanalytic mode of thought?)

In exploring these forms of transmission, the conference will seek to revisit the history of film theory and look forward to its future, asking whether psychoanalysis still has something to offer film theorists. In addition, the parallel histories (to use the term from the title of Janet Bergstrom's edited volume Endless Night) of cinema and psychoanalysis will be re-examined to shed new light on their past entanglement and possible future collaboration. Finally, through the investigation of scenarios and film form and their (mis)translations and mirrorings of psychoanalytic discourse and thought, approaches to film analysis will be explored.

Keynote Speakers:

Professor Mieke Bal (University van Amsterdam)
Philippe Grandrieux (
Film Director)
Professor Kaja Silverman (University of California Berkeley) 


For administrative enquiries contact Anna Malinowska 



Emmanuel College   

16 September



(of conference delegates attending events on 17-18 September)


Film Screening
Introduced by Elizabeth Cowie (Kent) and Sarah Turner (dir.)
Ecology (UK 2007, 97 min)


Drinks reception at CRASSH


17 September

Emmanuel College & Cambridge Arts Picturehouse


Registration (Emmanuel College, Queen's Building, Harrods Room)


Welcome and Introduction (Auditorium)


Kaja Silverman (Berkeley)
Orpheus Rex

Chair: Steve Joy (Cambridge)


Coffee (Harrods Room)


Session 2 - The Cut

Francis Summers (Royal College of Art)
Cut and Stitch: Found Footage Film as Applied Analysis

Andrew Webber (Cambridge)
Cut and Laced: Traumatism and fetishism in Un Chien andalou

Chair: Isabelle McNeill (Cambridge)


Lunch (The Old Library)

1415 - 1545

Session 3  - Vocal Transactions

Andrew Conio (Wolverhampton)
Windowless Monad

John Davidson (Ohio State University)
The Fathers of Invention: Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis, and the Cinema of Ottomar Domnick

Maija Timonen (Slade School of Fine Art)
The Guilty Silence of an Errant Debtor: What men talk amongst themselves means nothing

Chair: tba

1545 - 1615

Transfer to Arts Picturehouse


Session 4 - OPEN TO THE PUBLIC Film Screenings
Location: Arts Picturehouse

Emily Cooper
Laid Down (15min)

Philippe Grandrieux
La Vie Nouvelle (2002) plus Q&A with the director


Drinks Reception (Emmanuel College, Master's Lodge)

2000 - 2200 

Conference Dinner (Emmanuel College, Gardner Room)



18 September

Emmanuel College & Cambridge Arts Picturehouse

0930 - 10.45

Session 5 - Intercultural Translations

Henry K. Miller (Birkbeck College, London)
Prudential Speech and the Laws of Pathetics: Close Up on Cambridge

Rod Stoneman (Huston School of Film & Digital Media, National University of Ireland, Galway)
Much Harm

Chair: tba

1045 - 1115

Transfer to Arts Picturehouse


Session 6 -  OPEN TO THE PUBLIC KEYNOTE SESSION – Film Screening
Location: Arts Picturehouse

Mieke Bal (Amsterdam)
Film: Becoming Vera, followed by a talk

1315 - 1415 

Lunch (The Old Library)

1415 - 1545 

Session 7 - Visual Transfigurations

Julian Daniel Gutierrez-Albilla  (Newcastle)
Filming Psychoanalysis or Psychoanalysing Film? The ‘Paranoid Gaze’ in Luis Buñuel’s ‘Él/This Strange Passion’

Mauro Pasqualini (Emory)
An Existentialist Screening of Psychoanalysis: Satre’s Script on Freud

Joanna Evans (University College, London)
You lookin’ at me?’: Lacan’s Ambassadors

1545- 1615

Coffee (Harrods Room)

1615 - 1745 

Session 8 - Transformations Beyond

Richard Rushton (Institute for Cultural Research, Lancaster)
Psychoanalysis and the subject of cinema: Post-Lacanian approaches

Tania Espinoza (Cambridge)
Cinema and psychoanalysis: casting the mould of absence or the fantasy of negative space

Jonathan Whitehall (Royal College of Art)
Destroy: Where fantasy stages its mise-en-scène of desire

1745 - 1800 

Closing Remarks