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I think that cinema is the greatest modern art form. No painting makes me want to stare at it for two hours or gives me an experience that a movie does. 

There's a quote that will be instilled in me always - "Pain is temporary; film is forever" - meaning that whatever you're going through in your personal life, you have to channel that into what you're doing. In film, if you don't go where you need to go, you'll never get another chance to burn it into the public world forever.

Leonardo DiCaprio / Parade, Dec 12 2004 / photo : as Howard Hughes in The Aviator (2004

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I think there's always a need for entertainment and for things that can take you away from reality. I also think we all have the capacity for deep emotion, deep suffering, deep pain.

Obviously, living these things because someone in your family has AIDS or you're starving or your kid's sick or you're heartbroken is different from experiencing them through a film; but I think we need to experience certain things, and movies can help with that.

One of the things "Garden State" [dvd] deals with is our society's addiction to painkillers and antianxiety drugs and antidepressants. 

A lot of people in the Western world are experiencing depression and anxiety and all that stuff; but then you go to places where there's unimaginable suffering and strife, and you can't even someone being like, "Oh, my God, I'm really anxious." 

When you're fighting for your survival, there's no time for that, or maybe you just can't attend to it.

Natalie Portman 

[Interview mag., July 2004] - She studied psychology 
at Harvard and graduated with honors

....related books:.....

Cinematherapy for the Soul    /  The Motion Picture Prescription  

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I had been reading during those years [while writing the script for A Nightmare on Elm Street] ... There's a Russian philosopher who wrote about levels of consciousness and equated consciousness with being awake...

His theory was that consciousness is painful. .... The hero is the person that remains conscious, remains awake, up to the point where it's so painful you want to kill yourself. Most people, if they get near that level, turn around and go the other way... That became the framework for the film.

Wes Craven  .. from Dimension Online interview by Steve Biodrowski, Dec 12, 2001

more quotes on the shadow self : page 3

A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984) [dvd] starring Heather Langenkamp and Robert Englund

book: Nightmare on Elm Street by Bob Italia, Wes Craven

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Frida (2002)

Frida Kahlo (1907 - 1954) was a brief shooting star in the firmament of Mexican art whose most ardent qualities were fearlessness, passion, and inventiveness. 

Co-producer and star Salma Hayek [photo] devoted seven years to bringing the story of this colorful and controversial artist to the screen. She found a soulful ally in director Julie Taymor (Titus) who matches Frida's daring on canvas with her own daring images on the screen. ....

In his [article] Creativity in Self-Actualizing People, Abraham Maslow writes: "It seemed to me that much boiled down to the relative absence of fear. They seemed to be less afraid of what other people would say or demand or laugh at... Perhaps more important, was their lack of fear of their insides, of their impulses, emotions, thoughts."

Frida certainly fits these description. She was not afraid of strong feelings. This robust film salutes her fearlessness as she forges her own identity...

from Spirituality & Practice site :
 Movie Reviews by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

Frida [dvd]

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White Oleander

"You may love your mother. You may even like her. Nonetheless, there resides within each daughter the need to be different, to improve on the old model, to be a composite of all your own unique goodness and take total credit for it. 

"Woven into the mother-daughter tie is a built-in and unavoidable tension that goes with the territory," Victoria Secunda has written in When You and Your Mother Can't Be Friends. 

Erica Jong put it even more forcefully; reflecting upon this primal relationship, she wrote: "My love for her and my hate for her are so bafflingly intertwined that I can never really see her. I never know who is who. She is me and I am she and we're all together." ...

This tempestuous brew is bubbling at the core of White Oleander, the bestselling novel by Janet Fitch... Mary Agnes Donoghue (Beaches) has adapted this emotionally rich and hard-hitting coming-of-age drama for the screen. 

At the center is the turbulent mother-daughter relationship between a beautiful, dangerous, and controlling artist and her vulnerable, sensitive daughter.

Ingrid (Michelle Pfeiffer) is a stunningly attractive woman whose artistic talent makes her feel very special. She looks down on most other people and lauds her own independence, honesty, and self-confidence. 

Then, acting out of anger and jealousy, she murders her boyfriend. She is given a prison sentence of 35 years to life. 

Astrid ( Alison Lohman), her fifteen-year-old daughter, suddenly finds herself adrift in the foster care system of Los Angeles. Ingrid once told her to imagine the two of them as Viking warriors. 

But Astrid finds it hard to tap into that energy when she is so confused and is grieving the loss of her mother.

from Movie Reviews page
by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

White Oleander [dvd]

When You and Your Mother Can't Be Friends: Resolving the Most Complicated Relationship of Your Life -- Victoria Secunda

Fear of Flying -- by Erica Jong

novel: White Oleander - by Janet Fitch

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For Emily Watson, her film Hilary and Jackie [dvd] is "a cautionary tale about talent and celebrity. Having your talent recognized and praised can actually take you to a dark place if you don't have sane voices around to drag you back to reality.***[Calgary Sun, 1/30/99] 
related pages:.....counseling***nurturing mental health

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Sometimes when it's really, really tough, I remind myself how lucky I am to do what I love to do. And that I'm getting paid to kiss some beautiful, sexy man. Or beautiful sexy woman.

And you feel your own emotional issues. When you're working a lot, you're even tempered. It's an amazing thing. It's like our psyche needs to cry, even if it's for a film. It doesn't know the difference. And that's why I think being creative is really healthy.

Laura Elena Harring  .. [DarkHorizons.com 3/4/03]  /  photo from lauraharring.net

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What's wrong in your shrink's office is what's wrong on the set. Nine times out of ten, the thing that makes a film suffer is the thing that the director really needs to deal with psychologically.

It's usually issues of authority -- not only how you handle other people's authority but how you are as a leader. How you feel about yourself and how you project that onto other people or just the environment you set into play.

  Jodie Foster **.....[Los Angeles mag. March 2002]

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Gary Solomon... a professor of psychology.. says a person can "identify a film, watch it, and try to feel and look for the key points that affect their life. Hopefully, it brings their emotions to the surface so they can begin to deal with them.

"In films, we suspend disbelief. In therapy, we're coming out of denial. The two are similar."...

Karl E. Scheibe, a professor of psychology at Wesleyan University who has written on drama and psychology... says the idea behind it is not new.

"The Greeks believed in catharsis, discharging tensions indirectly through the medium of a spectacle of some kind," he says.

[from Institute for Psychological Study of the Arts newsletter Apr 2001]

....Gary Solomon  Reel Therapy : How Movies Inspire You to Overcome Life's Problems

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Sarah Polley on the first film she directed: 
I made it [Don't Think Twice (1999)] when I was 20 because I was very depressed and I just wanted to do something. 

So I did that and through the process of doing it, it was terrible. I mean it had great actors and great crew, and it was awful. I did a terrible job. 

In the process of doing it I realized it was what I wanted to do. It's one of those things where if you can actually know you want do something, even if your experience with it is terrible, aggravating, and the result is a failure, it is definitely what you should do. 

I'm glad I did it, because it let me know that this is something that I'm really serious about."

What she likes and aspires to in film:
I just think that the moments in film that move me the most are the ones that are a little bit hard to watch. I'm one of those people who really loves watching the surgery channel. 

Actually my best friend said to me when I was writing this, when she saw the first draft, "It's.. more like watching eye surgery." 

If it's good, it's because it'll be like watching a horrible operation. So those moments where they're uncomfortable to shoot and uncomfortable to watch, they are what I like watching in films."

from article: "Sarah Polley: Actor/Director/Activist/Canadian" 
by Bradley Cheyne, Emerson College

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Cinema therapy - by Daniel Mangin [salon.com]
During the early days of home video, psychoanalyst Foster Cline treated a woman whose wild and uncommunicative child resisted the slightest display of maternal affection. It occurred to the doctor that his patient might benefit from seeing how Anne Sullivan dealt with the similarly rebellious Helen Keller, so he asked her to pop "The Miracle Worker" into the VCR.

Arthur Penn's 1962 film about Keller and her teacher didn't work a miracle but, according to Cline, "the client learned from it how to set limits with a difficult child and saw that some children need to be held whether they like it or not." He found the experiment so successful he began to assign "video homework" to patients on a regular basis. Today many other therapists and mental-health professionals do the same, and some suggest that videos can help you even if you're not in therapy.

Guidelines for watching films  [CinemaAlchemy.com]

As soon as you are calm and centered, start watching the movie. Most deeper insights arrive when you pay attention to the story and to yourself. While viewing, bring your inner attention to a holistic bodily awareness (felt sense).

This means you are aware of “all of you” -- head, heart, belly, etc. Once in a while you might notice your breathing from an inner vantage point -- from your subtle, always-present intuitive core. Observe how the movie images, ideas, conversations and characters affect your breath. Don’t analyze anything while you are watching. Be fully present with your experience.

Why cinema therapy works  [CinemaAlchemy.com]

Films are metaphors similar to stories, myths, jokes, fables, or dreams that can be utilized in therapy. The cognitive effect of cinema therapy can be explained through recent theories of learning and creativity, which suggest that we have seven "intelligences".

The more of these intelligences we access, the faster we learn because they employ different methods of information processing. Watching movies can engage all seven of them: the logical (plot), the linguistic (dialogs), the visual-spatial (pictures, colors, symbols), the musical (sounds and music), the interpersonal (storytelling), the kinesthetic (moving), and the intra-psychic (inner guidance).

Mythic stories explain the purpose and place of humans in the grand design. Many films contain a mythical message that reminds us of our virtue and our authentic self.


Glenn O. Gabbard. Psychoanalysis and Film

Steven Galipeu. The Journey of Luke Skywalker: An Analysis of Modern Myth and Symbol

Christopher Hauke, Ian Alister. Jung and Film: Post-Jungian Takes on the Moving Image

John W. Hesley, Jan G. Hesley Rent Two Films and Let's Talk in the Morning : Using Popular Movies in Psychotherapy

Geoffrey Hill. Illuminating Shadows: The Mythic Power of Film

I was intrigued by Geoffrey Hill's highly creative collection of essays on the mythic power of film. These deeply felt and carefully crafted writings analyze the current tragic war on Mother Earth caused by an imbalance of patriarchal mythology. I commend Hill's well articulated call for a cinemasophia, the wise voice of the Goddess calling for change.
-- the late Marija Gimbutas, Professor Emerita of European archeology at UCLA, author of Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe, The Language of the Goddess, and other works.
The embers of a bonfire may appear to be dead until someone breathes on them - then they burst into flames. So it is with film: though thousands of people may see a film, its essential meaning may remain hidden until an observer with clear understanding reveals its mythic beauty, making its song resound for one and all. A great peace comes over me when reading what Geoffrey Hill has written about these films: thanks to his inspired analysis, they come to life with a new significance. May the cinema always have commentators of his caliber. -- Alejandro Jodorowsky, director of El Topo, Holy Mountain etc

Luke Hockley. C. G. Jung and Film Theory
An introduction to the world of post-Jungian film studies, this book redresses the dominance of Freudian theories of cinema and guides individuals through the intricacies of Jungian thought. In so doing, it provides the basis on which to construct a contemporary theory of cinema. Drawing on research into detective films and the myths of detection, Hockley weaves together psychological analysis with textual interpretation. The resulting hypothesis suggests that watching films is an intensely personal experience in which viewers, according to individual needs and desires, project and identify with films and their characters. [Amazon.com summary]

Mary Ann Horenstein et al. Reel Life/Real Life : A Video Guide for Personal Discovery
This guide reviews classic and contemporary films in terms of one or more of the 17 issue categories, such as "Coming of Age", Prejudice", "Love and Sex". The chapter "Personal Fulfillment", for example, has a typically eclectic mix of examples, including "Amadeus","It's A Wonderful Life", My Brilliant Career" and "Norma Rae". Covering some 700 films in less than 500 pages, the short reviews are terse mixtures of story summaries, plus descriptions of life issues the films illuminate. [review by Douglas Eby]
  > suggestions from the chapter "Mental Illness and Impairment": videos: David and Lisa.....Eating.....The Prince of Tides

James F. Iaccino. Jungian Reflections within the Cinema : A Psychological Analysis of Sci-Fi and Fantasy Archetypes

James F. Iaccino. Psychological Reflections on Cinematic Terror: Jungian Archetypes in Horror Films
In this examination of the psychology of terror, Iaccino uses Jungian archetypes to analyze significant works in the horror film genre. In the past, Jungian archetypes have been used to interpret mythologies, to examine great works of literature, and to explain why sexual stereotypes persist in our society. Here, for the first time, Iaccino applies such models as the "Cursed Wanderers," the "Warrior Amazons," the "Random Destroyers," and the "Techno-Myths" to highlight recurrent themes in a wide range of films, from early classics such as Nosferatu to the contemporary Nightmare on Elm Street and Alien series. With this innovative approach, Iaccino gains a new perspective on the psychology of the often powerful compulsion to be scared. [Amazon.com summary]

Robert K. Johnston. Reel Spirituality : Theology and Film in Dialogue

Michael Kalm. The Healing Movie Book
"Removes the mystery of psychotherapy, explaining in clear, lively prose, what it’s for, how it works, and why it works. Shows how pivotal scenes from commercially available movies, spanning more than 70 years can facilitate the positive outcome of a psychotherapy. Includes plot outlines and analyses of 169 movies from a unique Psychiatric viewpoint that makes classic films fresh for even the most seasoned movie-lover. Informs and entertains with anecdotes and poignant clinical tales peppered throughout the text. [summary from publisher lulu.com]

Nancy K. Peske, Beverly West. Advanced Cinematherapy: The Girl's Guide to Finding Happiness
One Movie at a Time   

Nancy K. Peske, Beverly West. Cinematherapy for the Soul 

Stephen Simon. The Force Is With You... Mystical Movie Messages That Inspire Our Lives

Marsha Sinetar. Reel Power: Spiritual Growth Through Film

Gary Solomon. The Motion Picture Prescription: Watch This Movie and Call Me in the Morning  [review] 

Gary Solomon Reel Therapy : How Movies Inspire You to Overcome Life's Problems

Raymond Teague. Reel Spirit : A Guide to Movies That Inspire, Explore and Empower

Fuat Ulus. Movie Therapy, Moving Therapy! The Healing Power of Film Clips in Therapeutic Settings

Stuart Voytilla, Christopher Vogler. Myth and the Movies: Discovering the Mythic Structure of 50 Unforgettable Films

Danny Wedding, M. Boyd Movies & Mental Illness : Using Films to Understand Psychopathology

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