A View of the American Psyche from Film
John Beebe, M.D.
Saturday, March 29th, 2003
9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Historically, American films have been constructively critical of the American character, reflecting a recurring national disappointment with the integrity of our fellow citizens. In a funny but deeply felt set of meditations on this theme, James Brooks' award-winning film, Broadcast News, is unusually effective in illuminating the complexes in our national character that sabotage its ethical integrity. This film also illustrates the typology of the American psyche, a structure that greatly contributes to certain failures of psychological understanding that are particularly common in our culture.
The conference will begin with a special showing of Broadcast News, which Dr. Beebe will introduce. Jung spoke of the "figures" in our unconscious life, and a deeply imagined film may use its actors to represent these figures as so many characters, creating an individuation story as they interact. Broadcast News is such a film, with a soul of its own that lends itself to psychological analysis.
The afternoon will be devoted to a discussion of the characters in this film and the complications their lack of mutual understanding presents. Dr. Beebe and the participants will also examine the attitudes this film envisions that typically interfere with the individuation of the American character, and how these may be addressed to develop the consciousness we still need, fifteen years after this film was made.
Dr. John Beebe, a psychiatrist and Jungian analyst in practice in San Francisco, has explored film from a Jungian perspective in the The Journal of Film and Popular Culture, The Psychoanalytic Review, The Chiron Clinical Series, Psychological Perspectives and DreamTime. His several books include Integrity in Depth. His movie reviews are regularly published in The San Francisco Jung Institute Library Journal.
CEUs for MFTs and LCSWs were available for this event.