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Psychoanalysis and its modern-day context

Discuss About The Cultural Analysis Of Contemporary Routledge.

The above quoted lines from the famous movie “Midnight in Paris” gives an overview of the entire theme of the movie. A common trend seen among then majority of the people in the recent times is that they are no longer content with the movie that focus on the age old romantic as well as the fairy tale stories. The present emphasis of the audiences is on the kind of movies which not only provide them with a glimpse of their own inner psyche but also compels them to undertake a deeper introspection of the themes as well as topics which are being shown implicitly or explicitly in the movie. It is a reflection of this particular factor the various movies of the present times take the help of various kinds of symbolism, imagery, metaphors and others in a bid to say a lot more than the actors on the screen are conveying to the audience (Mulvey 833-844). Therefore, it can be said that the end result of this particular fact is reason for the prominence which the “psychoanalytical style of movie critique” has gained prominence in the recent times (Mulvey 833-844). This essay will provide a review of the movie “Midnight in Paris” through the lens of the “psychoanalytical style of movie critique”.


The wider concepts which the genre of psychoanalysis deals with in the modern day context can be seen due to the works of theorists as well as Sigmund Freud, Loftus, Dallam, Jacques Lacan and others (Schwanebeck 42: 359-372). Furthermore, in the 21st century the person who is given the maximum amount of credit for the development of the genre of psychoanalysis was Julia Kristeva, a disciple of Roland Barthes (Schwanebeck 42: 359-372). It is a reflection of the works of these psychologists as well as the theorists from the diverse fields that the field of psychoanalysis in the present times covers a much wider canvas than it used to a few centuries ago (Collins, Collins and Radner). Thus, in the recent times it is seen that the various theories as well as the frameworks of psychoanalysis are used for the analysis of the movies and it can be said that the primary focus of this particular criticism is on the unconscious or the subconscious section of the mind of the individuals who are portrayed in the movies. In the opinion of many people the major focus of the critics who belong to this particular school of criticism is to analyze the movies under consideration on the basis of the theories as well as the works of Freud and Lacan (Bennett and Royle). However, in the present times it is also seen that the “Critical theory, Marxist film theory, and Apparatus theory” along with the concepts of male gaze and female gaze have come to form an important part of this particular genre of criticism (Bennett and Royle).

Movie Criticism through Psychoanalytical Criticism

The movie “Midnight in Paris” is an Oscar winning movie by the famous director Woody Allen and was released in the year 2011 (Allen). The movie had “Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Kathy Bates, Marion Cotillard” in the lead roles and the entire movie is shot in the city of Paris itself (Özer and Yasin 13: 145-154). It is significant to note that the movie under consideration here has different interpretations in the opinion of the different movie critics. However, I would like to say here that the movie is a “fantasy comedy” which through the mechanism of humor tries to show the struggle of a budding screenwriter not only with his work not also the struggle which he faces in his relationship with his fiancé (Özer and Yasin 13: 145-154). There are others who are of the opinion that the movie tries to show the pitfalls of the modern day relationships and the problems which inadvertently arise when people with different decide to come and stay together with each other (Muller 9:32-40). However, I personally believe that the movie tries to show the escapist tendencies of the human beings and their desire to move away from the mundane realities of their ugly lives. Therefore, it would be apt to say that the movie under consideration here has different interpretations when seen through the lens of different critical frameworks.


The movie tries to depict the life of Gil Pender, a fictional screenwriter who is struggling to produce a work of originality (Allen). In the movie Pender is shown to have visited the city of Paris with his fiancé and her parents in a bid to get married in the beautiful city of Paris. However, the couple soon meets one of the friends of the fiancé of Pender and they start an affair. Pender on the other hand is struggling with his work and one night while trying to get inspiration to complete the work of writing his masterpiece which he has undertake he accidently discovers that every night at around midnight a car passes through the city of Paris which takes the concerned individual to the different time periods of history (Muller 9:32-40). It is during these midnight visits that Pender gets to meet some of the stalwarts of World Literature as well as artists from different time periods like Ernest Hemmingway, Pablo Picasso, Scott Fitzgerald, his wife, Gertrude Stein and various others (Allen). It is significant to note that through his interaction with these stalwarts he is not only able to work towards the achievement of his lifelong dream of writing his own masterpiece but is also able to gain insightful knowledge about the various facets of his own life. Therefore, at the end of the movie it is seen that Pender breaks his relationship with his fiancé and decides to give full vent to his artistic temperament.

Midnight in Paris - A review


The director Woody Allen has tried to explore the concepts of modernism as well as nostalgia through the various time travels which the lead character of the movie Pender undertakes in the movie. The various time travels which form an important part of the movie are the representation of an alternate universe which the director Woody Allen has tried to explore in this particular movie. This particular interpretation has been accepted by the majority of the movie critics since the time travels of Pender take him exactly to the time periods in which he is most interested in and as per the psychoanalytical theories of Freud as well as Lacan in a way it can be said that they are the fulfillment of the “id” or the inherent desires of the character of Pender, who desperately wants to break away from his present day mundane realities as well as mediocrity which have become the norm of his life. Therefore, it can be said that it is during these time travels and most precisely when he meets the various luminaries from the past it is seen Pender becomes a very lively person which he seldom gets the chance to be in his real life whose entire fulcrum revolves around the life of his fiancé. The ending of the movie in my view is a kind of “wish fulfillment” for the central character of the movie, namely, Pender as he finally is finally able to meet a girl who not only shares his love for the old books but also for the frequent rains of Paris. Therefore, it can be said that the movie under consideration here when viewed through the lens of the psychoanalytical criticism would reveal new insightful information about the movie.

The director Allen effectively manages the various time transitions which form an important part of the movie and they do not seem odd. Furthermore, the various paintings which are being shown during the course of the movie are also very pleasing to watch. The background music of the movie, especially the ones which are being used when Pender is in the other time periods are totally in synchronization with the context of the movie.


To conclude, the genre of psychoanalytical criticism has gained a considerable amount of significance in the recent times and it is a reflection of this particular fact that the various movie critics try to analyze the various movies of the present times through the lens of this particular genre of criticism. In the present times it is generally seen that the various directors instead of narrating the various events of the movie in a straight forward manner often try to take the help of the various precepts of the concept of modernism as well as post-modernism and it is precisely here that the genre of psychoanalytical criticism within the genre of movie analysis gains prominence. A pertinent example of this particular fact is the movie “Midnight in Paris” which when viewed through the lens of the psychoanalytical criticism as well as modernism would reveal several new insights about the movie which would have gone unnoticed if the other methods of criticism would have been used for its analysis.

References

Allen, Woody et al. "Midnight In Paris (2011)". Imdb, 2018, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1605783/. Accessed 16 May 2018.

Collins, Jim, Ava Preacher Collins, and Hilary Radner. Film theory goes to the movies: Cultural analysis of contemporary film. Routledge, 2012.

Fusco, Katherine. "Love and Citation in Midnight in Paris." A Companion to Woody Allen (2013): 294-318.

Gedo, John E. Portraits of the artist: Psychoanalysis of creativity and its vicissitudes. Routledge, 2013.

Muller Stuelp, Camila. "Midnight in Paris: the loss of the aura in Modernity and the exhalation of the past." CADERNOS BENJAMINIANOS 9 (2015): 32-40.

Mulvey, Laura. “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema.” Film Theory and Criticism : Introductory Readings. Eds. Leo Braudy and Marshall Cohen. New York: Oxford UP, 1999: 833-44.

Özer, Ba?ak, and Yasin Ça?atay Seçkin. "The use of qualitative data analysis software to read landscapes in movies: The case of Midnight in Paris." A| Z ITU Journal of the Faculty of Architecture 13.3 (2016): 145-154.

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