Washington Center for Psychoanalysis

September 21

The Piano Teacher (La Pianiste) (2001)(130 minutes)

How far is aman willing to go to be with the woman he wants? Erika (Isabelle Huppert) is aveteran piano instructor at a famous music conservatory in Vienna. Erika ishighly respected for her remarkable  talent and strong discipline, but she'salso known to be a harsh taskmistress and does not suffer fools gladly; amongher students,    Erika's class is considered a highly rewarding challenge, butdifficult to weather. Erika seems to get her stern and unforgiving nature fromher mother (Annie Girardot), with whom she still lives, and without a husbandor a lover.  Erika discovers she hasattracted the attentions of one of her students, Walter (Benoit Maginel),gifted and good-looking young man  who does not seem at all put off by her icypersonality. 

 La Pianistewas shown in competition at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival, where IsabelleHuppert and Benoit Maginel were named Best Actress and Best Actor, andwriter/director Michael Haneke received the Jury's Grand Prize.    

Discussant:  Tarpley Long, MSW

October 19

The Diving Bell and The Butterfly (LeScaphandre et le Papillon) (2007)

(114 min) 

Jean-Dominique Bauby, thereal-life editor of the French fashion magazine Elle, suffered a pontinestroke at 43 that left him with “locked-in syndrome” – complete paralysis ofall his voluntary muscles except for those of the eye and eyelid. The film isbased on Jean-Do’s remarkable memoir of his illness, dictated with 200,000 eyeblinks to his amanuensis. While this prison became a kind of "divingbell" for Bauby -- one with no means of escape, his solace lay in the"butterfly" of his depthless fantasies and memories. Neoexpressionistartist Julian Schnabel’s film is about the life of the mind, unencumbered bycorporality, about the possibilities of desire, and about the limits ofrealization. Given its premise, it might come as a surprise to discover thatthis film is entirely engaging, lyrical at moments, ironic, giving.

Discussant:Robert Winer, M.D.

November 16

500 Days of Summer (2009) (95 min)  

JosephGordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel star in director Marc Webb's wry, nonlinearromantic comedy about a man who falls head over heels for a woman who doesn'tbelieve in love. Tom (Gordon-Levitt) is an aspiring architect who currentlyearns his living as a greeting card writer. Upon encountering his boss'beautiful new secretary, Summer (Deschanel), Tom discovers that the pair haveplenty in common despite the fact that she's seemingly out of his league.  Before long Tom is smitten. All he can thinkabout is Summer. Tom believes deeply in the concept of soul mates, and he'sfinally found his. Unfortunately for Tom, Summer sees true love as the stuff offairy tales, and isn't looking for romance. Undaunted and undeterred by hisbreezy lover's casual stance on relationships, Tom summons all of his might andcourage to pursue Summer and convince her that their love is real. 

Discussant:  Angela Martin, MSN, CS-P

January 18

The Man Who Loved Women (1977) (104 min.)

Scientist BertrandMorane, "never in the company of men after 5," seduces women byevening and writes about the experiences in the early morning. Though 40ish andsomewhat square, no woman in the town of Montpelier seems capable of resistinghis earnest advances. Not much else happens in The Man Who Loved Women, but inthe hands of master visual storyteller François Truffaut, the threadbare plotaccumulates deep and ominous philosophical resonances.  A deceptively simple film, The Man Who Loved Womenis neither an indictment nor an apology for philandering; rather, it's acourageous, lovingly detailed portrait of a complex, intelligent man sufferingfrom an altogether intractable complaint. 

Discussant:  Marcario Giraldo, Ph.D.

February 15

The Night Porter (1974)(118 min)

Max (DirkBogarde) is a discreet, unassuming night porter working in a posh hotel inVienna in 1957, tending to the guests' needs, from ice water to a bed-warminggigolo. Then Lucia (Charlotte Rampling) arrives at the hotel, on the arm of herhusband, an American conductor, and their past comes flooding back to him. Itturns out that Max, as revealed by flashbacks, was an S.S. officer  at a Naziconcentration camp where Lucia was a beautiful 15-year old prisoner and Max'ssexual slave who was protected by him.  Now,years later, their reunion shatters both of their lives. Lucia stays in Viennaafter her husband travels on and they renew their former sadomasochisticrelationship. His former S.S. comrades have been "filing away" witnessesto obscure their culpability. Max tries to keep Lucia's existence a secretfrom them but they eventually discover her. They consider her a threat and theyurge Max to turn her over to them.  Maxand Lucia hide out in his apartment in a regressive sadomasochistic state whilehis former friends keep a threatening watch. 

Discussant:  Bruce Sklarew, M.D.

March 15

That Obscure Object of Desire (1977) (100 min)  

Adapted fromPierre Louys' 1898 novel La Femme et le Pantin, That Obscure Object of Desireis the 30th and final film from the great Luis Buñuel. Recounted in flashbackto a group of railway travellers, the story wryly details the romantic perilsof Mathieu (Buñuel favorite Fernando Rey), a wealthy, middle-aged Frenchsophisticate who falls desperately in love with his 19-year-old former chambermaidConchita. Thus begins a surreal game of sexual cat-and-mouse, with Mathieuobsessively attempting to win the girl's affections as she manipulates hiscarnal desires, each vying to gain absolute control of the other

Discussant:  Richard Waugaman, M.D.  


April 5

Elegy (2008)  

Cultural critic David Kepesh sits in his ivory tower, divorcedfrom any romantic or familial entanglements -- until the sultry 24-year-olddaughter of Cuban exiles reawakens his sense of sexual excitement in thiswell-acted drama.  Adapted fromauthor Philip Roth's novel The Dying Animal, director Isabel Coixet's eleganttale of obsession explores the relationship between a highly respectedprofessor (Ben Kingsley) and an impossibly gorgeous grad student (PenélopeCruz). As their relationship deepens, the professor finds his ego challenged bythe girl's enchanting beauty. Dennis Hopper and Patricia Clarkson co-star. 

Discussant:  Julio Szmuilowicz, M.D.