Freud and Gibson: A child is being beaten and The Passion of the Christ

Journal Article or Monograph

Title: Freud and Gibson: A child is being beaten and The Passion of the Christ
Year: 2005
Authors: Hoffman, T.

The film, "The Passion of the Christ" by Mel Gibson, recalls the paper, "A child is being beaten." In 1919, Freud described a tri-phasic progression to the phantasy of witnessing an adult administering corporal punishment: father beating another child, the reporter-child being beaten by the father, and, ultimately, a father surrogate beating other children, usually boys. Reactions to witnessing the unrelenting tortures endured by Jesus in "The Passion of the Christ" led to a psychoanalytic examination of the metaphors conveyed by its images, plot, and characters. This film contains unconscious themes of sexual identification and dis-identification, incest, guilt-induced masochism and the convergence of pain and love in the parent-child relationship.

Keywords: sexual identification, incest, guilt-induced masochism, parent-child relationship, cinema
Language: English

Journal: Psychoanalytic Psychology
Volume: 22
Issue: (1) Winter
Start page: 107
End page: 112
Publisher ID:

Submitted by:
Thomas Hoffman

Corresponding author:

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