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Anguish in Lars von Trier's movie Melancholia: fundamental psychopathology' contributions

Grant number: 15/23493-8
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2016
Effective date (End): December 31, 2016
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Psychology - Social Psychology
Principal researcher:Érico Bruno Viana Campos
Grantee:Renan Siqueira Rossini
Home Institution: Faculdade de Ciências (FC). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Bauru. Bauru , SP, Brazil


This project aims to study the concept of anguish in the movie Melancholia, directed by Lars von Trier, using fundamental psychopathology's theories. It's assumed that the human being is founded by a pathos, affected by an original anguish. The ontological condition of the humankind is rescued by fundamental psychopathology to reallocate psychopathological disorders from a medical condition that prevailed in modernity to a structuring condition of the human being. From this perspective, the human being is a pathic figure, affected by an excess that can be understood as anguish, which pathic is the founder of psyche. In an attempt to illustrate the expressions of anguish, Melancholia occupies a prominent position, as it illustrates how three characters deal differently with it. Those are Justine and Claire, whose names title the two central parts of the movie and represent the name of the younger and older sister, respectively; and John, Claire's husband. Whereas the method of fundamental psychopathology field of research is constituted by a psychoanalytic method, this research will be performed as an applied psychoanalysis method. To achieve this, three areas will be guiding, namely: a) general ideas of anguish in the limited theoretical field; b) general statements on the filmmaker's work and specific study of the interpretations and analysis of Melancholia; c) analysis of Melancholia using applied psychoanalysis methodology with the help of conceptual categories built on the previous areas.

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