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date: 20 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Those who believe that the psychoanalytic understanding of human nature is broadly correct will also likely believe that there are essential aspects of film that cannot be adequately understood without it. Among these are film’s power; the nature of film spectatorship; and the characteristics of specific films and genres. Why are we attracted to certain kinds of films—horror films and those depicting violence we abhor? The most basic claim underlying psychoanalytic approaches to film is that the creation and experience of film is driven by desire and wish-fulfilment and functions to satisfy certain psychological, protective, expressive needs of artists and audiences. Psychoanalytic explorations of film tend to draw together aspects of artistic creation and spectatorship, as well as accounts of film’s power to move audiences and the nature of film spectatorship in general—the affective and cognitive significance of the nature of film experience itself.

Keywords: spectatorship, power, horror, wish-fulfilment, desire, violence, affective and cognitive significance, protective and expressive needs, human nature, experience

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