How is loss psychically processed? Why are some losses unmourned? How is loss represented and communicated? What are the politics of mourning? These and other questions will be explored through a number of different modalities to shed light on the unconscious mechanisms of mourning/melancholia: identification, unconscious fantasy, narcissism, manic defense, psychic change, and so forth. The objective of the series is to discuss films that signify various aspects of mourning and melancholia so that we may better understand them in our clinical practices, research projects, and culture more broadly.
September 22: We Need To Talk About Kevin presented by Scott Griffies, MD
A family struggles to understand how their son could perpetrate the mass-murder of his fellow classmates. This film challenges us to tackle difficult questions of primal aggression and rage that surface amidst an ordinary upbringing. Tilda Swinton stars and Lynne Ramsay directs this devastating portrait of gun violence in America.
October 27: The Skin I Live In presented by Kathy Nathan, Ph.D.
A famed plastic surgeon transforms his male victim to resemble his dead wife. If “it takes time to get a handle on the story,” as one reviewer wrote, it’s because the film exemplifies the defensive warding against loss at every turn. Antonio Banderas stars in this psychological thriller directed by master filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar.
December 15: Sarah’s Key presented by Howard Osofsky, MD, Ph.D. and Joy Osofsky, Ph.D.
A woman becomes aware of her ties with the victims of the 1942 Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup in this film about transgenerational trauma and memory. Kristin Scott Thomas stars in this French language film directed by Gilles Paquet-Brenner.
January 12: Rabbit Hole presented by Denise Dorsey, MD
Becca and Howie Corbett mourn the loss of their 4-year old son after he is struck by a car and killed. In an effort to move on with their lives, Howie wants to resume their sexual relationship and have another child, while an emotionally distant Becca tries to erase every reminder of their son from their lives. The two attend group therapy and eventually learn how to cope with their loss. Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart star in this Academy Award nominated film based on the Pulitzer Prize winning play.
January 26: Truly, Madly, Deeply presented by Molly Rothenberg, Ph.D.
Overcome with grief, a woman is visited by the ghost of her beloved following his sudden death. The two resume their relationship, but as time passes, the woman wants to have different relationships with people in her life. Juliet Stevenson and Alan Rickman star in this 1990 comedy-drama directed by Anthony Minghella.
March 9: The Fisher King presented by Dale Firestone, LCSW
A talk-radio host becomes depressed after his insensitive comments drive a listener to murder innocent people. On the verge of suicide, the radio host meets the husband of one of the victims who helps him work-through his feelings and start living again. Jeff Bridges and Robin Williams star in this Academy Award nominated film directed by Terry Gilliam.
May 11: Blue presented by Jamie Cromer, LCSW, ACSW
After losing her husband and daughter in a car crash, Julie sinks into a deep depression. Julie’s depression is compounded by the secrets she harbors about her famous dead husband and herself. The process of mourning for her family leads Julie to reevaluate her own life and to live differently. Juliette Binoche stars and acclaimed Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Kieślowski directs.
June 1: The Crying Game presented by Marilyn Skinner, MD
The mysteries of the unconscious are on display in this dazzling 1993 film starring Stephen Rea, Forrest Whitaker, and Jay Davidson. The death of a supposed enemy prompts an IRA solider to question his political and sexual identity in life-changing ways.
$5.00 general admission, $15.00 for CME for members and $25.00 for CME for non-members