Date of Award

Spring 5-19-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Film Studies

First Advisor

Kelli Fuery

Second Advisor

Ian Barnard

Third Advisor

Patrick Fuery


The contemporary turn of psychoanalytic film analysis has opened a new mode of understanding cinematic language. However, rejecting classical psychoanalysis would be premature. This thesis will place the two in conjunction, specifically through Sigmund Freud’s conceptualization of moral masochism and Wilfred Bion’s theory of thinking. Through four films: Una, The Tale, The Tribe, and Son of Saul I explore the affective nature of films that depict trauma and why one would gravitate towards such upsetting material. The spectator who seeks to be frustrated is not looking to harm oneself but to process this frustration in order to expand their emotional experience.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.