2019 Final Girls Berlin Film Festival Program 2019 Final Girls Berlin Film Festival Program - Page 6

1.2 FREITAG FRIDAY talk: Hysteria and Demonic Possession: A 16:30h Psychoanalytic Investigation - Mary Wild In a letter to Josef Breuer, Sigmund Freud described a hysteric patient as being “at a loss to find words. With time, she became almost completely deprived of words, putting them together laboriously out of four or five languages […] In spite of making great efforts to speak, she was unintelligible, unable to say a single syllable.” This talk focuses on cinematic representations of demonic possession as a manifestation of unresolved unconscious conflict. Iconic depictions of possession are startlingly similar to fits of hysteria, where language no longer functions normally. Sensorimotor symptoms (e.g., nervous tics, fainting spells, hyperventilation, convulsions, violently thrashing around, etc.) are psychoanalytically interpreted as revealing the origin of trauma. The premise is that certain words, memories, experiences and impulses over time become ‘trapped’ in the interior psychic space, forced under house-arrest in the hysteric’s body. The repressed content gains potency as it roams around, possessing various parts of the subject. Instead of the wandering womb, it is the banished signifier that wanders, seeking expression! The hysteric stores sensations in her body, fashioning them into future symptoms. Her body stands in as a warped communicative device, indicative of unconscious activity: her symptoms do all the talking for her. Films mentioned: The Exorcist (1973), Possession (1981), The Entity (1982), Paranormal Activity (2007), Satanic (2016) and Under the Shadow (2016) Mary Wild is the creator of the PROJECTIONS lecture series at Freud Museum London, applying psychoanalysis to film interpretation. Her interests include cinematic representations of mental illness, identity and the unconscious in the genres of horror, science fiction and documentary.