Dream Screen: Film and Psychoanalysis

Subject SCRN40010 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 4 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 29-Feb-2016 to 29-May-2016
Assessment Period End 24-Jun-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 11-Mar-2016
Census Date 31-Mar-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 06-May-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 2-hour seminar and a 2.5-hour screening per week.
Total Time Commitment:

Total expected time commitment is 170 hours across the semester, including class time.


Admission to the Master of Arts and Cultural Management (Moving Image) or fourth year honours in screen and cultural studies.



Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:


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/


Dr Mark Nicholls



Subject Overview:

This subject evaluates the central place of Freudian psychoanalysis in Hollywood and international art 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, Luis Bunuel, Powell and Pressburger, David Cronenberg, Woody Allen, Liliana Cavani, Bernardo Bertolucci and Lina Wertmuller, 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.

Learning Outcomes:

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.

A 5000 word research essay 100% (due in the examination period). Students are required to attend a minimum of 80% (or 10 out of 12) classes in order to qualify to have their written work assessed. Any student who fails to meet this hurdle without valid reason will not be eligible to pass the subject. All required written work must be submitted in order to pass the subject. Essays submitted after the due date without an extension will be penalised 2% per day. Essays submitted after two weeks of the assessment due date without a formally approved application for special consideration or an extension will only be marked on a pass/fail basis if accepted.

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: 150 Point Master of Arts and Cultural Management - Moving Image Specialisation
200 Point Master of Arts and Cultural Management - Moving Image specialisation
Gender Studies
Graduate Certificate in Arts (Advanced) - Gender Studies
Graduate Certificate in Arts (Advanced) - Screen Studies
Graduate Diploma in Arts (Advanced) - Gender Studies
Graduate Diploma in Arts (Advanced) - Screen Studies
Graduate Diploma in Arts - Gender Studies
PC-ARTS Gender Studies
PC-ARTS Screen Studies
PD-ARTS Gender Studies
PD-ARTS Screen Studies
Screen and Cultural Studies

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