28 July, 2013


What does this film director and this French psychoanalyst  have in common? Find out in my upcoming series, THE MIRROR STAGE.

The Mirror Stage [French: stade du miroir] is a term probably largely unknown outside of the the theory, practice and history of psychoanalyis.

TOP: Jess Franco as the voyeur-Russian spy in UNA RAJITA PARA DOS (1982) 
BOTTOM: Jacques Lacan lecturing. 
This series will consider some interesting possible parallel's between Jacques Lacan's theoretical psychological concept of THE MIRROR STAGE and Jess Franco's long running deployment of mirror imagery in his films.

Lacan first made public his theory as a paper presented at
the International Psychoanalytic Congress in Marienbad. LAST YEAR AT MARIENBAD, the 1961 French Art Film classic, a labyrinth of hypnotic mise en scene written by Alain-Robbe Grillet and directed by Alain Resnais, comes immediately to mind.... right?

Beyond the joke there is something to be said concerning the relation of the theory and the central placement of the mirror as both a symbolic object and a stylistic signfiier in the cinema of Jess Franco. To name another film, AL OTRO LADO DEL ESPEJO, a key title in the prolific auteur's filmo from 1973, a year in which he made, or partially made, up to 12 feature films.

I actually had the chance to talk with the director in some detail about the film and his evaluation, intentions and practice during an [unpublished] interview I conducted with him by telephone in 2004.
But first, in the next blog post on this topic, we'll attempt to outline Lacan's theory, at least to the best of my ability, given my limited understanding of psychoanalytic theory and Lacan's dense texts on the topic.

(C) Robert Monell 2013

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