Monday, May 14, 2012

Method to the Madness


Watching A Dangerous Method the other night, I couldn't help but think there was some connection between Freud and Stanislavsky, especially since David Cronenberg drew more from Christopher Hampton's play, The Talking Cure (2002) than he did the book by John Kerr.  Very well acted film.  Others have strove to draw connections between the two, notably Donald Freed in his series of lectures on Freud and Stanislavsky, published in 1964, but it seems that they arrived at their famous methods independently with no communication between them.  Hard to imagine, since the two had to at least be aware of each other.

The most interesting aspect of the film was the role Sabina Spielrein played in Jung's and Freud's lives, notably Jung's life.  Spielrein was the first woman psychoanalyst, and brought Freud's method to the Soviet Union in the 1920s.  By this time, Stanislavsky's method acting was well established, but just the same one wonders if the two came in contact with each other.  Spielrein's interest was mostly in children, and she served as the pedagogical doctor of the Third Internationale.  Unfortunately, very few pictures of Spielrein available on the Internet.  Of course, Keira Knightley makes for a most fetching appearance on screen.

While Spielrein had been reduced to a footnote in history,  Freud's and Stanislavsky's methods live on.  It seems only appropriate that Hampton and Cronenberg would turn to method acting in the play and film.

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