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FRIDAY - Mommy Issues: Freudian Relationships in Film

Programmed by: Steph Chung

Freudian psychoanalytic theory is both ridiculed for its perplexing assumptions and respectfully applied to many kinds of art. Regardless of the psychological validity, film loves Freud. I was inspired to make this series by my favorite film, Phantom Thread. The romance in the film is an odd one to root for: the dynamic between Reynolds and Alma oscillates between infatuation and bitter defensiveness, until what melts through Reynolds’ cold shell is Alma’s nearly maternal tenderness. These Oedipal undertones in romantic relationships are off-putting and taboo, but films love to tease apart the complicated mess of emotions in these dynamics. Perhaps the openness required to love mirrors the childlike vulnerability one shows to their own mother?

This selection of films seeks to cover a broad range of Freudian representations in film: classic examples such as Oedipus Rex lay down foundational themes, while films like Phantom Thread, Mommy, Only God Forgives, and The Piano Teacher present modern reconfigurations of the Oedipal dynamic. With The Manchurian Candidate and Psycho, we get new takes on mother-son relationships. Some films hold Oedipal themes at the core of their narratives, while films like Back to the Future and Incendies stumble across Freudianism. It’s hard to say where this series will take us. Perhaps through this scattered, eclectic constellation of films we can understand what it is about Freudian relationships that film loves so much.

Psycho (1960)

Psycho (1960) still

Alfred Hitchcock · 109m · DCP

The Master of Suspense lives up to his name in this horror classic, in which Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) stops by at the Bates Motel only to stumble into one of cinema's most infamous serial killers, Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins). What Paramount expected to be just another sleazy horror has risen to be a masterclass in cinema. You might think you have heard everything there is to know about Psycho, but it's an absolute must-watch.

Friday, January 5th 7:00PM · Saturday, January 6th 4:00PM

Phantom Thread (2017)

Phantom Thread (2017) still

Paul Thomas Anderson · 130m · DCP

A movie about love and other obsessions. Phantom Thread centers the precarious romance of dressmaker Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) and his muse Alma (Vicky Krieps) as their relationship careens from giddy adoration to quarrels. Every frame is a painting in this velvety film. With stunning performances and a haunting, ethereal score by Jonny Greenwood, Phantom Thread takes us right into the political mess of love.

Friday, January 12th 7:00PM

Back to the Future (1985)

Back to the Future (1985) still

Robert Zemeckis · 116m · DCP

Wait a minute, are you telling me you built a MOMMY ISSUES SERIES with a KID'S MOVIE? Yes! Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) travels back to 1955 in a DeLorean time machine his friend Doc (Christopher Lloyd) built, and accidentally ends up stealing his dad's girl... who's his mother. McFly must play matchmaker to his own parents to set the future right, and has to find a way back home. A family movie classic that's definitely not to miss!

Friday, January 19th 7:00PM

The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

The Manchurian Candidate (1962) still

John Frankenheimer · 126m · DCP

Sgt. Shaw returns home from the Korean War and is praised by his mother for his "heroic" service, although in reality his men hate him for his cruel leadership. But the lies go deeper: Shaw had been captured by Communists and programmed as a sleeper agent, and had unknowingly been taking orders from Communists to kill. Described by Roger Ebert as "inventive and frisk," The Manchurian Candidate provides a window into the chaos of Cold War paranoia.

Friday, January 26th 7:00PM

Incendies (2010)

Incendies (2010) still

Denis Villeneuve · 131m · 35mm

After the death of their mother Nawal, two twins are shocked to find in her will a mission for them: to deliver letters to their unknown brother and to their father, who they thought to be dead. The twins travel to their mother's home, and slowly uncover the pieces of her life to reveal something they'd never expect... Masterfully intertwining the past and the present, Denis Villeneuve's Incendies tells the story of civil war and sacrifice.

Friday, February 2nd 7:00PM

Oedipus Rex (1967)

Oedipus Rex (1967) still

Pier Paolo Pasolini · 104m · DCP

It can't be a Mommy Issues series without the Oedipal complex. Pasolini takes on Oedipus Rex and breathes a touch of modernity into the classic Greek tragedy. Incorporating motifs from cultures around the world, Pasolini tells an ahistorical yet universal story of fate and the guilt of innocence. Pasolini's first feature-length color film and supposedly a work of "autobiographical anxiety," Oedipus Rex is more than the original story.

Friday, February 9th 7:00PM

Mommy (2014)

Mommy (2014) still

Xavier Dolan · 139m · Digital

After her unstable son Steve (Antoine Olivier Pilon) starts a fire, Die (Anne Dorval) brings him home from his mental institution. Their neighbor Kyla (Suzanne Clément) intercepts one of their violent confrontations, and the three begin to help eachother heal their internal wounds. But when Die finds a romantic interest, chaos breaks loose again. Shot in an unconventional 1:1 aspect ratio, Mommy is a sensitive look into family and the limits of love.

Friday, February 16th 7:00PM

Only God Forgives (2013)

Only God Forgives (2013) still

Nicolas Winding Refn · 90m · DCP

Drenched in rain and neon light, Only God Forgives is a whirlwind of beautifully shot depravity and mother-son dialogue unlike any other. The film follows Julian (Ryan Gosling), who, by order of his mother, must dive into the streets of Bangkok to avenge his brother's death. Described by Gosling as the strangest script he's ever read and featuring him at peak solemn hero with a cool 17 lines, Only God Forgives is an extravagant and daring watch.

Friday, February 23rd 7:00PM

The Piano Teacher (2001)

The Piano Teacher (2001) still

Michael Haneke · 131m · 35mm

Nothing like wrapping up a quarter with some Haneke! In this fan-favorite, piano teacher Erika (Isabelle Huppert) lives with her domineering, abusively controlling mother. When Erika meets aspiring piano student Walter (Benoît Magimel), her sexual repression and his cruelty drive their relationship into sadomasochism. The winner of the 2001 Cannes' Grand Prix, Best Actress, and Best Actor, The Piano Teacher is an explosive watch.

Friday, March 1st 7:00PM · Sunday, March 3rd 4:00PM