"Narrating Dreams: Ingmar Bergman's Psychoanalysis through Theresa Hak Kyung Cha's Apparatus" is a research project that critically investigates cinematography, book design, and psychoanalysis within a context of constant media restructuring. The research outcome consist a paper and a film essay, which are presented in 2023 at "Psychoanalysis and its Discontents: Reality, Media, and the Subject" -- a symposium co-sponsored by Princeton University Department of German, Department of Art and Archaeology, Program in Media and Modernity, and the School of Architecture.
Ingmar Bergman’s Persona and Cries and Whispers describe acute interactions among their female protagonists through cascades of stunning imagery. Visual signifiers permeate the films, transposing sensorium while alluding to repressed desires. Alternatively, the films can be seen as allegories of psychoanalysis, for which images reign over language in narrating dreams.
Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s Apparatus critically summarizes film theories indispensable for the artist’s modus operandi. In her practice, Cha effectively conflates images and language. In addition to an assemblage of cinematographic philosophies, Apparatus enacts Cha’s narrative approach, interspersing texts with literary excerpts and film stills.
This paper investigates Bergman’s films through the lens of Cha’s Apparatus. Both the cinematographic theories and Cha’s representations thereof will be analyzed for a parallel anatomy of Persona and Cries and Whispers. Emphasis will be given to both films’ preoccupation with narrating dreams using images transposing sensory modalities. Two entangling threads tie together the analysis: in Persona, the tactile dimension of the phantasied images underlies a wicked intimacy, destabilizing our reading of the Other; and in Cries and Whispers, a majestic control of colors acquires symbolic meanings, bringing flashbacks into contact with the narrative present. In the end, I argue that both authors have restructured the filmic medium to effectively display the potentialities of writing (Cha) and psychoanalysis (Bergman).
film stills
For full access of the paper and the film essay, please email me at xinyu.cecilia.chen@outlook.com.
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