Psychoanalytic Takes on the Cinema (The VVitch)
2015 (92 min)
Director: Robert Eggers
Discussant: Alex Smith, Psy.D.
A family in 1630s New England is torn apart by the forces of witchcraft, black magic and possession.
*** Film must be viewed prior to event.***
Presentation: Horror stories, often repudiated as beneath other fiction genres, explore dynamic processes to absurd, disturbing, and occasionally transcendent effects. Like all great horror narratives, Robert Eggers’ The VVitch uses the language of horror to iterate upon anxieties common to the human experience, chilling and aweing the viewer by revealing the fallibility of our hubristic attempts to manage impossible feelings and thoughts within ourselves. Often, and sometimes through a mere insidious glimpse of the camera, Eggers ambitiously addresses concepts ranging from the pitfalls of doctrinal rigidity, the corruptive forces of moral and natural evil, and the cosmic insignificance of humanity.
In this talk—and given the season— we will celebrate the effectiveness of horror in portraying the profoundly human through the profoundly fantastical. We will briefly and incompletely consider creativity in horror as a means of working through powerful affects and conflicts, honoring its generativity and cultural value. And, in our appreciation and exploration of The VVitch, we will identify several individual and group processes in the film, including projection, taking interest in the fantastical manifestation of this process in the film.