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Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute & Society

Reel Deal 2003-2004 Recap - The Hours, Talk to Her, Y Tu Mama Tambien, Frida

By Richard Marcolini, M.D.

The 2003-2004 APT Film Series, "The Real Deal: Plumbing the Depths of Four Recent Films," co-sponsored by the Academic Council, is in the midst of the first year of a new, exciting format. Only highlights of the film are shown at the program, as all selected films are currently available on DVD. Each discussion panel includes a film critic, a film academician and a psychoanalyst. A gourmet brunch follows each presentation.

This year's first film, which was also the APT Sunday Brunch, was, "The Hours" on October 19, 2003. The panel featured film critic George Tysh of the Metro Times, Brian Murphy, Ph.D., of Oakland University and Psychoanalyst Dale Boesky, M.D., of the Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute. Film Committee Chair Dave Lundin, M.A. reports there were nearly sixty in attendance and the discussion was excellent. With the help of the audience, many relevant issues were explored, including the nature of intimacy and attachment, potential meanings of suicide in the context of relationships, feminine independence in the early 20th century, and the similarities and differences between Virginia Woolf's novel Mrs. Dalloway, Michael Cunningham's novel The Hours, and the movie. The brunch menu was wonderful, featuring finger sandwiches, scones and other treats inspired by the period of the film, provided by chef Carlo Coppola.

The second film in the series was "Talk to Her," on November 16, 2003, with film critic Sonia Kovacs of the Ann Arbor Observer, Psychoanalyst James Hansell, Ph.D., University of Michigan and Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute, and Ira Konigsberg, Ph.D., University of Michigan. Dave Lundin comments that there was a full house, with over seventy in attendance. Everyone enjoyed Carlo Coppola's fantastic Spanish tapas cuisine. After film clips, including the infamous movie-within-a-movie "The Shrinking Lover," the superb discussion ranged over stimulating issues such as sexuality, gender, love, desire, good and evil, and human connectedness, with plenty of audience participation.

The third film, "Y Tu Mama Tambien," on January 31, 2004, drew a similarly large and enthusiastic crowd. The delicious Mexican feast prepared by Chef Coppola was relished by all. The panelists, Eastern Michigan University's Sheldon Annis, Ph.D., and Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute's Richard Fish, Ph.D., presented interesting and quite divergent viewpoints on the film. Political and cultural implications of the film were explored in relation to the characters, as well as many issues related to adolescence, narcissism and regression in the service of development. This sparked an interesting audience debate, illustrating that a great film can contain truths on many levels.

The final film in the series, "Frida," on February 21, 2004, was also well-attended, with about 100 in attendance. Carlo Coppola's pre-film Mexican feast of tortilla soup, seasoned chicken, salad and other authentic Mexican goodies added to the enjoyment. The panelists were film critic Brian Murphy, Ph.D., Oakland University, Ellen Schwartz, Ph.D., Eastern Michigan University, Art History, Robert Burgoyne, Ph.D., Wayne State University, Film Studies, and Psychoanalyst Nancy Kulish, Ph.D., Michigan Psychoanalytic Society. The audience discussion focused on a number of provocative issues, including why Frida chose to involve herself with a known womanizer, how she dealt with her numerous traumas, what the quality of her love for Diego really was, how her art related to her traumas, and perhaps most of all, the difference between loyalty (more emotional and spiritual) and fidelity (more physical), and how they interrelate to create a new lifestyle.