Dream Screen: Film and Psychoanalysis

Subject SCRN40010 (2010)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2010.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 4 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2010:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

On campus

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 4.5
Total Time Commitment: 120
Prerequisites: Admission to the postgraduate certificate, diploma or fourth year honours in cinema studies or gender studies, the Master of Cinema Management, or the Bachelor of Creative Arts (Honours).
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements: None


Dr Mark Nicholls


Mark Nicholls

Subject Overview:

This subject evaluates the central place of Freudian psychoanalysis in Hollywood and international art house cinema. It considers the way psychoanalysis has been employed by filmmakers, film theorists and critics as both a creative and a critical or analytical tool. Through a detailed analysis of films by directors such as Martin Scorsese, Federico Fellini, David Cronenberg, Woody Allen, Ang Lee, Whit Stillman, Bernardo Bertolucci and Tobe Hooper, this subject assess the way film and the act of writing about film engages with the discourse of the unconscious. Through an analysis of key psychoanalytic texts such as The Interpretation of Dreams, Totem and Taboo and Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection, the subject considers the history of the psychoanalytic movement and the central ideas of Sigmund Freud, C. G. Jung, Jacques Lacan and Julia Kristeva. From the basis of a growing fluency with psychoanalysis, students will then examine noted examples of cine-psychoanalytic writing to assess its impact on the development of film theory and film culture generally. Students who complete this subject should demonstrate an understanding of a range of psychoanalytic theories and an ability to draw on these theories to interpret film.

Objectives: Students who complete this subject will be able to:
  • demonstrate an understanding of various psychoanalytic theories;
  • demonstrate an ability to draw on psychoanalytic theories to interpret film texts; and
  • demonstrate an understanding of various psychoanalytic theories specific to the cinema.
Assessment: A 5000 word research essay 100% (due in the examination period).
Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills: Students who successfully complete this subject will:
  • be skilled in research;
  • possess advanced skills of critical thinking and analysis;
  • possess an ability to communicate knowledge intelligibly, economically and effectively; and
  • have an understanding of social, ethical and cultural context.
Related Course(s): Bachelor of Creative Arts(Honours)
Master of Cinema Management
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Cinema Studies
Cinema Studies
Cinema Studies
Gender Studies
Gender Studies
Gender Studies

Download PDF version.