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Sigmund Freud's Dora

Anthony McCall
1979
40 mins Colour Optical sound 16 mm
Collaboration with Claire Pajaczkowska, Andrew Tyndall, Jane Weinstock.

Sigmund Freud's Dora

A feminist critique of Sigmund Freud's account of his first published case-history. AM

'The film developed from a reading group on language and psychoanalysis in which nine people - including the four filmmakers - had been involved in the spring of 1979.

Jane Weinstock and Claire Pajaczkowska had previously been in a women's group reading 'Dora'. Anthony McCall and Andrew Tyndall had made a feature length film about male fashion advertising and avant-garde filmmaking called 'Argument'. Together we decided to develop a film using Freud's famous 'Fragment of an Analysis.'

We chose Dora as a text because it provides a site from which to discuss the intersection of several issues;

  • a theory of female sexuality.
  • the historical development of psycho-analysis as an Ideological State Apparatus often used by dominant ideology to try to reconcile women to their position within the family.
  • Understanding hysteria not only as an illness but as the inevitable predicament of women who speak in a language which has never been out, a phallocentric language.
  • To analyse that language, how it represents. Freud's representation of Dora, the representation of female sexuality in psychoanalytic theory, and representation in films.

The film, Sigmund Freud's Dora starts from the position that these processes of representation are not only a factor in psychoanalytic texts. They exist no less in a film's shot-counter-shot that they do in advertising; no less in the iconography of the mother than they do in pornography.'
Extracts from group statement, New York 1979.

Sigmund Freud: Joel Kovel
Dora: Silvia kolbowski
Dora's mother: Anne Ilegira
Talking Lips: Suzanne Fletcher
Additional Writing: Ivan Ward
Camera: Babette Mangolte
Sound; Deedee Halleck

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