Dream Screen: Film and Psychoanalysis

Subject SCRN40010 (2011)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2011.

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

This subject is not offered in 2011.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 4.5
Total Time Commitment: 120
Prerequisites: .
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.

The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website: http://www.services.unimelb.edu.au/disability/


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.


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). Students are required to attend a minimum of 75% of classes in order to qualify to have their written work assessed. All required written work must be submitted in order to pass the subject.
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 Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Gender Studies
Gender Studies
Gender Studies
Moving Image
Screen Studies
Screen Studies
Screen Studies
Screen and Cultural Studies

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