Jung and Film

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Jung and Film Online 2024

CG Jung
Presenters: John Gosling, Renee Ramsden and Grace Reid
Venue: Zoom Online Facility
Time: Friday evenings at 18:00 for 18:30
Fee: R150.00 per film evening. Notes will be provided as usual. Booking essential, made convenient through our online facilities.

Zoom:  You need to download Zoom prior to this meeting – you simply download the free Zoom App onto your computer or mobile device.

Library: Our library is open for use. It can also be accessed online through our comprehensive platform. For more information, contact Debra at saajalibrary@outlook.com

Please join our mailing list or email us on saaja@mweb.co.za for further details and updates.

Storytelling is the oldest form of transmitting wisdom from one generation to another. We build our world on the stories we tell, which confers a great responsibility on the story teller, or, in our time, the movie makers. As Jung emphasized, stories also illustrate the insights found in centuries of human cultural and psychological development.

The film stories we have chosen for the 2024 programme of Jung and Film evenings include the abuse of women in modern western society; the challenge in relationships regarding sexual attraction, love, parenthood, responsibility versus freedom, and age-discordance; attitudes to marriage and women in the 18th and 21st centuries; themes of isolation, alienation, war and dictatorship; reflections on the value of life when confronted with its limitations.

The format of our film evenings is that the attendees and facilitators watch the film together on the Zoom platform, followed by a discussion of the film, which includes contributions by facilitators and participants. Before each screening, the facilitators will circulate notes, which discuss and amplify the film. It is our hope that viewers will become lost in the drama of the film and potentially access aspects of their own experiences and inner life, which they may then choose to share with others during the discussion.

These evenings are open to all interested members of the public and clinicians. CPD points are no longer available for these events.

Your proof of payment will ensure you receive the Zoom meeting link. No Refunds.

To book, visit our Events Calendar here.

Dates and Topics

23 February: She SaidJung & Film. She Said

Run time: 2h 9m

‘Everyone remembers where they were on October 5, 2017, when the New York Times Harvey Weinstein article dropped.
Adapted from a novel of the same name, She Said is a gripping story about the New York Times investigation into the sexual abuse by Harvey Weinstein. Skipping over the flashiness of dramatizations, it opts for a de-saturated coloring that focuses on the story at hand with an emotional pulse and social depth that powers the narrative. At the heart of the film is listening through thoughtful conversations that crafts a journalistic thriller around the female voice.’ https://offscreenwithjillian.com/reviews/she-said
‘Everyone working at the New York Times during the investigation, including powerhouses like Rebecca Corbett (Patricia Clarkson), and Dean Baquet (Andre Braugher), alongside Twohey and Kantor, weren’t just selling a story but sincerely wanting to put an end to the one man’s unearned, horrific power. The authenticity of the true story is the entire reason the film works to showcase what it looks like when women’s voices are silenced.’ https://marvelousgeeksmedia.com/2022/11/22/she-said-review-a-poignant-examination-of-journalism-and-the-women-whose-voices-were-silenced/

Jung & Film. May December

26 April: May December

Run time: 1h 53m

May December (2023), directed by Todd Haynes, is loosely based on the tabloid much-publicized case of Mary Kay Letourneau, the Seattle-area teacher who, aged 34 in 1996, seduced her 12-year-old student, Vili Fualaau.

Gracie (portrayed chillingly in a magnificent performance by Julianne Moore) and Joe (played with subtle restraint by Charles Melton) appear to have a beautiful marriage and family that seems on the surface to be almost “picture perfect”. However, with the arrival of a respected Juilliard-educated actor Elizabeth Berry (portrayed passionately by Natalie Portman) who will play Gracie in a sensitive independent movie about Gracie’s life, cracks soon appear that develop into fissures and eruptions. The title of the film, May December, is a metaphor for the age-discordant relationship between Joe and Gracie.

What unfolds is a slow stripping away of deceptions, distortions, and pretences. The complexity of sexual attraction, love, and human relationships are explored. The flawed fragile core identities of all the characters are exposed. Boundaries become blurred and then blatantly transgressed. One reviewer noted that, “There’s a slippery quality to this creation, with its zaps of humour and gradual sadness, that defies easy classification.” (https://www.theguardian.com/film/2023/dec/06/may-december-movie-natalie-portman-julianne-moore)

21 June: Portrait of a Lady on FireJung and Film. Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Run time: 2h 11m

“Portrait of a Lady on Fire” is a French film from 2019, set in late 18th century France. A painter is commissioned to paint the pre-wedding portrait of an aristocrat’s daughter. The action takes place on a distant island in Brittany where the painter Marianne accompanies her subject on long coastline walks, in order to memorize her features; the subject, Héloise, has forbidden her portrait to be painted because she does not want to be married off to a Milanese aristocrat, as arranged by her mother. In the course of their time together, an erotic attachment grows between the women, accelerated by their arranging an abortion for a pregnant housemaid and consummated during a period when Héloise’s mother is absent. The film raises questions of erotic ties between women and the effect of the patriarchy on people’s lives (while there are few male characters in the film, the patriarchy is omnipresent). Rachel Syme of the New Yorker says the film thoroughly examines the entanglements between artistic creation and burgeoning love, between memory and ambition and freedom. As much as it is about the electric connection between women as they find their desire for creative experience fulfilled in each other, it is also about the powers of art to validate, preserve, and console after a romance is over.

Jung & Film. The Wall26 July: The Wall

Run time: 1 hour 35 minutes

‘The Wall’ is a rock opera first produced in 1978, by the rock band Pink Floyd. It was made into a film in 1982, with director Alan Scarfe in collaboration with Gerald Scarfe, a ‘biting British political caricaturist’.  According to reviewer Roger Ebert it ‘is without question the best of all serious fiction films devoted to rock.’ https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/great-movie-pink-floyd-the-wall-1982

In 2022 the film celebrated the 40th anniversary of its wide release in the US. Reviewer and self-proclaimed fan, Michael Cavender, finds that ‘Its themes of isolation and alienation have not been diminished by time and seem newly relevant. Anxieties about large-scale armed conflict, rising authoritarianism, and civil unrest now resonate … in a compellingly modern way. Despite long years having passed since its release, the film feels depressingly fresh and topical.’ He concludes: ‘The Wall weaves together some autobiographical details of Roger Waters’ life with the sad story of ex-band member (and so-called crazy diamond) Syd Barret along with Waters’ feelings about war, fame, and mental illness into a 95-minute rock and roll nightmare. Visually stunning, sonically appealing, and disturbingly still relevant, I was blown away all over again watching it recently. Despite a reportedly troubled production, the film has managed to stand the test of time.’ https://www.cinedump.com/reviews/2022/9/13/pink-floyd-the-wall-1982

Jung & Film. Lost Daughter

Image credit: http://www.impawards.com/2021/lost_daughter.html

20 September:

The Lost Daughter

Run Time: 2h 1m

The Lost Daughter, an absorbingly shaped psychological drama that spirals out from an unexpected incident, a single traumatising event, from which the action metastasises, is Maggie Gyllenhaal’s directorial debut. The Lost Daughter is an adaptations of Elena Farrante’s 2006 novel of the same name and stars Olivia Colman who delivers a rich, complex, and fascinating performance as Leda. The supporting cast features Jessie Buckley, Dakota Johnson, and Dagmara Domińczyk.

The action takes place partly in the present during Leda’s working vacation at a beach villa, but encounters and events there trigger her remembered past. The Lost Daughter teases apart the present tense through the slow reveal of the details of Leda’s time as a young mother of two daughters and a promising academic career. The film addresses uncomfortable issues such as parenthood versus pursuing a successful career, responsibilities versus freedom – including her rather impulsive romantic choices. The decisions she made had consequences and there are many fraught unresolved issues with which Leda grapples, some of which she may never be able to fully reconcile. Leda’s every interaction shiver with threat, desire, insecurity, and all the unresolved issues she projects onto others. Because she is so consumed with herself, she misinterprets the “unspoken” all the time.

Ferrante, by way of Leda, notes that, “The hardest things to talk about are the ones we ourselves can’t understand.” This film captures a wavering feeling about love, the sense that love isn’t always so easy, and that the irrationality that defines it is as attractive as it is noxious. (https://www.rollingstone.com/tv-movies/tv-movie-reviews/lost-daughter-review-netflix-1272685/)

Jung & Film. Living22 November: Living

Run time: 1h 42m

In this gentle and poignant film scripted by Kazuo Ishiguro (“Never Let me Go,” “Remains of the Day”) and starring Bill Nighy. Nighy plays Mr. Williams, an archetypal, buttoned-up civil servant, complete with bowler hat, in post-World War II London. During thirty years at his desk, he has become indifferent and jaded. However, when his doctor tells him he has a few months to live, he realizes that he hasn’t been living at all. Nighy’s performance is a marvel of quiet strength and internalized complexity as he moves through utter indifference at work, to misguided adventures introducing rich subplots, to passionate support for a project that will benefit children. “Living” reminds us that our lives are limited and valuable, and we should make the most of our time. As Joseph Campbell said, life hasn’t its own meaning; we each must make our own. This is the story of how one man finds his way to making his unique meaning of life.

The Presenters

Renee Ramsden: is a clinical psychologist and a Jungian analyst working in private practice in Wynberg, Cape Town, for almost 40 years. She is a founder member of the Southern African Association for Jungian Analysts (SAAJA) and a training analyst. She specializes in dream-analysis and has been studying alchemy and psychology as presented by C.G. Jung for 25 years. She has a longstanding interest in ancient goddess cultures and their relevance for the feminine in our current world.

John Gosling: is a psychiatrist and Jungian analyst. He trained at the C.G. Jung Institute of New York and returned to Cape Town in 2004. He is a past- president of SAAJA and is also a training analyst. He has a special interest in unprocessed trauma, the lifelong effects this has on our lives if left untreated. and how psychoneurobiology informs our work and approach to psyche He actively works with dreams and has a special interest in applying the principles of analytical psychology to films and everyday life.

Grace Reid: is a psychologist and Jungian analyst who practices psychotherapy, psychoanalysis and supervision in Kenilworth. Her training and education took place mostly in the United States, where she was in private practice for five years before moving to Cape Town in 1990. Her special interests include the psychology of aging, dream analysis, psychological types, and the practical application of Jungian theory in everyday life. She has served as secretary of SAAJA and is a training analyst.