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Absorbing, entertaining and deeply fascinating
le 28 mars 2012
This film is a kind of triple biopic, recreating a crucial period in the lives of psychoanalytic pioneers Freud, Jung and Sabina Spielrein in a manner that shows great respect for historical accuracy. But the interplay between the three, as played by Mortenson, Fassbender and Knightley, is so riveting that it comes across as a subtle and moving psychological masterpiece, not a museum piece.
I came to it having read a bit of Freud and a bit more of Jung, and was vaguely acquainted with their points of disagreement, but i was completely unprepared for the revelation of how their respective theories were shaped by their relationships, especially by Jung's relationship with Spielrein. Christopher Hampton's concise script and Cronenberg's impeccable direction create a vivid space in which the three leads, along with Sarah Gadon as Jung's wife and Vincent Cassel as Otto Gross, become living personalities grappling with challenges that are no less real today. It all looks beautiful on blu-ray, too! The result is a hugely entertaining film, and one you'll want to see again, just to witness (and maybe share in) the titanic struggles of soul that both Spielrein and Jung went through.
I've loved Cronenberg's more far-out creations such as Videodrome, The Fly, and Naked Lunch, but i'd have to say this is his best work yet. There's not much in the way of extras on this disk, but the edited interviews with him and the actors show how he's honed his art to the point that he's in complete control but also has complete trust in his actors. This is the perfect story for that kind of technique, as it creates just the right atmosphere for the whole film -- in a way, it's all about the psychological ambiguities and ambivalences of control (including self-control). A flawless work of art about people with fascinating flaws.