Tag Archives: Actor

Psychoanalysis As Archaeology in Penny Dreadful

14 May

Dedicated to O…

Freud famously described psychoanalysis as archaeology, the unearthing of meaning layered deep beneath an “expanse of ruins.

In television and movies it’s closer to a detective story.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/28/arts/television/28stan.html

Penny Dreadful Dr Seward & Vanessa Ives

In their first meeting, Vanessa Ives {Eva Green} and Dr.Seward {Patti LuPone} explore the intimate relationship between {potential} patient and psychologist.

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This brilliant scene from Penny Dreadful illustrates how a alienist/psychologist/therapist/psychiatrist excavates the truth through words, gestures/body language, actions, etc. Although it is the first time that Vanessa Ives and Dr.Seward meet, the alienist sets her boundaries. Since it is a preliminary consultation, she has to assess if Vanessa will be her patient {“if I take your case”}. 

Vanessa’s gestures are psychoanalyzed {why are you scratching your hand? Why were you doing that?}. Vanessa replies shyly that she had an itch. Dr.Seward says “no, you didn’t” with conviction. To Dr.Seward, the scratching of the hand is not as it appears; it connotes nervousness/anxiety. Every gesture speaks volumes to the alienist/psychologist/psychiatrist

Vanessa sees Dr.Seward’s observations as a challenge. She says, “this is a challenge. You’ll see if I am worthy of study.” Her astute observations about Dr.Seward’s criteria are accurate. Through prelimiary psychoanalysis, the therapist is trying to assess if Vanessa is worthy of her time, energy and talents. Is she worth having as a patient?

Dr.Seward warns Vanessa, “I am not your friend or your priest or your husband. I am your doctor. You come to me to get better because you are ill- no other reason. Do you understand that?” She sets her professional boundaries clearly. The purpose of therapy is to heal Vanessa of her illness.

Dr.Seward’s compassion shines through despite her tough demeanor. She asks Vanessa, do you understand that you are ill- not bad, not unworthy- just ill? Depression often tricks a person into thinking that they are unworthy. It tells many lies. The therapist must convince the patient of their depressed state instead of internalizing a depressed identity.

She resassures Vanessa that there are “no emotions unwelcome in this room.” Vanessa is encouraged to release her emotions because it is cathartic to do so. Dr.Seward is also communicating to Vanessa that she will not be judged. She is free to speak and express herself as necessary. She also warns her, “if this process doesn’t appeal to you, the door is there.” It almost sounds like she is testing Vanessa or interrogating her at times.

The turning point is when Vanessa takes control of the narrative. She says with a smile, “you don’t want me to leave…because I scratch my hand. You find that telling…those phobias that interest you.” She assures the doctor that she might interest her as a patient. Vanessa notes that Dr.Seward doesn’t need the ten shillings but she does need interesting people to collect. Dr.Seward disagree with her by saying that she takes patients on to cure them. Vanessa asks, what the difference is between collecting and curing?

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This scene is when Dr.Seward really showcases her talents as the skilled alienist. She ends her analsysis with the metaphor of the ouroboros. {The snake eating its tail is a symbol of infinity}. In essence, Dr.Seward is telling Vanessa that she is trapped in an endless cycle of unhappiness as she constantly tortures herself.

12 Monkeys End At The Beginning

The ouroboros from the 12 Monkeys television series from Syfy

Dr. Seward (to Vanessa Ives):

“I already know what’s wrong with you.

You’re unhappy. You’re isolated.

You think you’re the cause of this unhappiness and are unworthy of affection so you’ve few friends.

Recently you lost something you think very important- your lover, your faith, your family, or all three.

You blame yourself for this, so it makes you neurotic and you don’t sleep and don’t eat anything healthy anyway.

You used to take care of your appearance, but you’ve lost interest in that, so you avoid mirrors.

Sunlight bothers you, so you avoid that too, about which you’re guilty because you think it’s unhealthy and even immoral not to like the sun.

You’re not a woman of convention or you wouldn’t be here, but you like to pretend you are so people don’t notice you.

But you sometimes like that as well, and can dress to draw the eye. But then you think the men who look at you are fools, or worse, to be taken in by such an obvious outward show.

So, instead you’re drawn to dark, complicated, impossible men, assuring your own unhappiness and isolation because, after all, you’re happiest alone.

But not even then because you can’t stop thinking about what you’ve lost, again, for which you blame yourself.

So the cycle goes on, the snake eating its own tail.”

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I highly recommend watching Penny Dreadful.

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These scenes convey the brilliant acting of Eva Green, Patti LuPone and the work of the creative teams behind Penny Dreadful. It also highlights the emancipating insight that one can gain from psychotherapy. I have been in psychotherapy and it is one of the best decisions I have made. The internal work is so challenging and often painful but it is worth it in terms of healing, personal development, self-discovery, growth, etc. I highly recommend it.

The key is being ready to open yourself up to examine your memory palace/the locked rooms in your mind and finding the right alienist/psychologist/therapist for you.

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P.s. I plan to do posts about the television shows Penny Dreadful; 12 Monkeys; the alienist; etc.

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Further Research…

Penny DreadfulPenny Dreadful’s Internet Movie Database Page

Eva Green..Eva Green’s Internet Movie Database Page

Patti LuPonePatti LuPone’s Internet Movie Database Page

12 Monkeys12 Monkey’s Internet Movie Database Page

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Peace & Psychoanalytic Love,

V.

The Art of Listening In HBO’s In Treatment…

12 May

Listening is truly a lost art.

In Treatment Dr Paul Weston's Hand Gestures

How often do you encounter people in life that you can tell are obviously not listening? It is the most common experience.

Sadly, it has become rare when someone actually listens to you and values what you have to say. 

In Treatment Talk To Me

In Treatment was a half an hour drama on HBO that starred Gabriel Byrne. The show was about the art of listening, psychotherapy, dysfunctions, neuroses, ethics, fears, self-sabotage, mental illness, relationships, conflict, trauma, pain, suffering, healing, resilience, etc.

Compassion and humanity are at the root of psychotherapy and In Treatment respectively. They speak about the deep need to be listened to without judgment. I have a great respect for psychology. It was one of my areas of study and I have intuitively known it is my vocation since childhood.

In treatment was even studied in universities at the time {I am not sure if it still is}. Counselling psychology students discussed in treatment in classes. Its pedagogical purpose was to teach students how to live their potential as psychologist and to help their clients heal.

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In Treatment is like a prism that reflects the spectrum of humanity.

It can be Shakespearean in its dramatic storylines, intimate revelations and profound intellectual discussions.

{Side note: this is Paul’s wave machine in the introduction}.

It is a cerebral show that dives deep into the Alice in wonderland rabbit hole of the psyche. In treatment relies heavily on the art of acting. Gabriel and the rest of the cast really shine in this thirty-minute drama. The skilled actors play off the script, each other, emotions and body language. They have no special effects to rely on- just their acting skills. {Side note: Gabriel won a golden globe for his performance. Many other actors and the show itself were nominated for numerous awards}.

Gabriel’s character is the compassionate Dr.Paul Weston.

He is the wounded healer, secret keeper, listener, teacher and psychologist.

In Treatment He's Listening

Psychotherapy is based on trust and vulnerability- spiritual and emotional nakedness. There is a strong emotional connection between Paul and all of his patients. First, he has to earn their trust and convince them to trust him and open up.

He must analyze their issues beneath the masks they wear.

He has to discern the truth from lies, distortions and projections.

All of his patients have complex problems and dysfunctional patterns of behaviour.

Some are based on the complexities of being in a relationship and sharing a life with someone despite conflicting personalities or desires. With Jake and Amy, Paul is a mediator between them. He uses conflict resolution, helps them clarify their real issues/emotions and helps them decide on their course of action.

Others are more individual problems with roots in childhood.

Regardless of how the trauma manifests itself, what is evident is that Paul is responsible for his patients.

In some cases, he is the only person that his patients have to rely on. 

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In treatment examines many themes. One is the issue of transference.

Transference can happen in the therapeutic process. The psychologist has to maintain their boundaries and respect their professional code of ethics.

How do you treat a patient that thinks they are in love with you?

What if they insist on their declarations of love?

What if they play mind games and employ manipulation?

How do navigate that?

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Intergenerational trauma is another topic that is examined in the show.

Alex is not even aware of the impact of how his father murdered his grandfather traumatized him. He is also not conscious of how his childhood and his father’s toxic masculinity traumatized him.

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How do you deal with the emotional impact of listening to people’s problems all day?

Many psychologists go to their own psychologist for therapy and to consult about their patients. Paul goes to Gina for this purpose. Their relationship is quite strained but he desperately needs that outlet.

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Some quotes from this video stood out to me in particular…

“It is hard to see so many people in pain and not be able to do anything to help them in some way.” -Paul

“Maybe helping is easier than feeling the pain.” -Laura

I can attest to this feeling of helplessness. It is very painful for me to see or know that someone is in pain without being able to do anything to ease their suffering.

Laura’s observation has some merit. Sometimes it is easier to help than feel. Sometimes it just hurts too much.

“We are not Gods, we can’t save anybody.” -Gina

Gina’s statement is true.

We cannot save anybody.

We can only help them to save themselves.

“It is possible to live in a world where people panic, where people let each other down, where they disappoint each other but still help each other out.” -Paul

I think this is the most realistic observation.

It is still possible to help each other despite our flaws and limitations.

Paul asks Alex where he wants his therapy to lead him. He answers painfully, “some place where I feel less shitty about myself.”

There is something in Blair Underwood’s voice when he says “some place where I feel less shitty about myself.” We can all relate to this sentiment.

“I thought that is what we are on the earth for- to help each other- to step up to the plate when somebody needs us.” -Paul

I have to agree with Paul.

I think it is noble to derive your life’s purpose from altruism and compassion.

Finding meaning in helping others is something I can deeply relate to.

“There are other places where you can feel safe and here in this room is one of those places.” -Paul

The therapist’s office is like a sanctuary from the chaos of the world.

Paul really wants to help his patients find their own answers to enlighten themselves, empower themselves and solve their problems.

With Sophie, Paul wanted her to have her own epiphanies.

In this scene, Sophie has empowered herself enough to confront her father on his abandonment and absence as a father.

Paul’s role is not to be the judge but to guide them to reconnect and re-establish their relationship. The journey is painful but worthwhile.

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Paul’s observations/analysis is incisive.

He really gets to the root of his patient’s suffering.

{It reminds me of Robin Williams’ character the psychologist Sean McGuire in Goodwill Hunting}.

His patients always challenge him and often test his boundaries.

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It should be noted that Paul has his own problems to contend with.

I think it is vital to observe that psychologists are human and imperfect. They have to deal with their own life and its challenges while trying to help others heal and figure out their life’s labyrinth.

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Happy birthday to Gabriel Byrne today!!!

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Further Research

Gabriel Byrnehttps://www.byrneholics.com/

Gabriel Byrne’s Internet Movie Database Page

In TreatmentIn Treatment’s Internet Movie Database Page

In Treatment’s HBO Page

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Have you watched In Treatment?

What did you think?

You can watch it on HBO’s website {for a price}.

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Rest in peace to Irrfan Khan who recently died {April 29th, 2020}.

He brilliantly played Sunil in the third season.

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Peace & Compassion,

-V.

Reflection for today…A Volcanic Love -Richard Burton

11 Jan
Richard Burton Elizabeth Taylor quote

Isn’t it lovely how she is cutting his hair?

This reflection is lovely to me. Despite their two divorces, Richard and Elizabeth loved each other. Unfortunately, their love was not able to withstand the storms of life. They still had unwavering mutual respect for each other.

Another thing that strikes me is how eloquent Richard Burton is. I am enamoured with his writing and it reminds me of my friend Olly’s writing. What an ode he wrote to his beloved Elizabeth!

You can only hope that someone writes that way about you one day… 

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Please enjoy Ring of Fire by Johnny Cash…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rq4a2te0yhE

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Ring of Fire

Johnny Cash

Copied & Pasted from https://genius.com/Johnny-cash-ring-of-fire-lyrics

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May we all find a volcanic love…

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Peace &  Volcanic Love,

-V.

Benicio Del Toro Praises Gabriel Byrne…

17 Oct

Benicio Del Toro has been one of my favourite actors for many years.

Benicio is A Passionate Actor With A Deep Intensity…

Benicio Del Toro is a Chameleon…

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In this short video clip, Benicio praises Gabriel Byrne.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69Aw8Dnnolw#t=18

They both acted together in the brilliant film The Usual Suspects.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oiXdPolca5w

The Usual Suspects Laughing

He even jokes about being the Puerto Rican version of Gabriel Byrne.

Having the respect of your peers is a beautiful thing.

*Side Note: Kevin Spacey who is also in The Usual Suspects is also another favourite actor of mine {along with Gabriel Byrne}.

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Do you enjoy Benicio Del Toro’s acting?

What about Gabriel Byrne’s and Kevin Spacey’s acting?

What is your favourite Benicio Del Toro film?

Do you love The Usual Suspects as much as I do?

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For more information…

Benicio Del Toro… http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001125/

Gabriel Byrne… http://www.byrneholics.com

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000321/ 

Kevin Spacey… http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000228/

The Usual Suspects Film… http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0114814/

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Benicio Wishes You Peace…

Reflection for today…Questioning Identity -Tilda Swinton

21 Apr

“I’m basically interested in identity, and I still find fascinating the question,

how do we identify ourselves, and how do we settle into other people’s expectations for our identity?”

Tilda Swinton

 

Tilda channels David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust alter ego…

Tilda is a Rebel Rebel…

Tilda is a huge David Bowie Fan…

“The other day, I was going through the airport security and I was searched by a male security guard. I’m very often referred to as “Sir” in elevators and such. I think it has to do with being this tall and not wearing much lipstick. I think people just can’t imagine I’d be a woman if I look like this.”

“You’re always playing yourself.
It’s all autobiography, whatever you’re doing.
It’s using them as a kind of prism through which to throw something real about yourself, or something relaxed at least.
Because the last thing you want is to look like you’re acting.”

Tilda Swinton in Candy Magazine

Tilda is a Futuristic Cosmic Mermaid…

Tilda as a Cosmic Space Goddess…

Tilda Laughs At The Status Quo…

Tilda Transforms Through Make-up Artistry…

“These photographic performances and the opportunity they afford me to play with the shapes and attitudes of this lexicon are thrilling to me.”

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Tilda Swinton is a brilliant actress and performer {one of my favourites}.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2Zajvjm4LI

She has performed “the maybe” where she sleeps in a glass cage for performance art.

Tilda’s recent performance at MOMA {Museum of Modern Art}…

Tilda is a fascinating artist and human being.

“It’s a real comfort zone for me to feel alien.”

It should come to no surprise that she is a writer.

If you have ever hear her speak, you will be struck with her grace, intelligence and eloquence.

Her natural beauty radiates outwards.

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Tilda tends to favor a more natural and androgynous look.

The pictures from Candy magazine depict her in drag make-up.

These pictures are in juxtaposition with her usual natural aesthetic.

Scottish actress Tilda Swinton relishes in androgyny, artistry and creativity…

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Tilda is so intriguing to me not only as an actress/artist but as a thinker and human being.

She says that a recurring theme in her work is the question of identity and the question of transformation.

Tilda Swinton in W Magazine {August 2011}

In this clip, she discusses identity and transformation….

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vEIFzoBgNe8

“Society circumscribes us and we play into this feeling that we have to pick one identity and stick with it and any natural transformation within our spirit is to be resisted at all costs.

If there is some great shift in someone’s life one is to feel nothing, but shame and failure, that’s the thing I am constantly drawn back to.”

“There is something insane about a lack of doubt. Doubt, to me anyway, is what makes you human, and without doubt even the righteous lose their grip not only on reality but also on their humanity.”

What keeps her engaged in performing and acting is the moment of shift and doubt in one’s identity.

“There’s such an effort to try and explain people.”

Tilda Removes The Wig/Veil/Metaphorical Mask…

Tilda The Transformer…

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Gender, identity and beauty are such an intriguing topics which I hope to explore in future posts.

“Tilda does not always play women; she has played Mozart on stage, an Elizabethan nobleman in Orlando (1992) and an androgynous angel, Gabriel, in Constantine (2005).”
-Internet Movie Database

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Please enjoy the fascinating video of master make-up artist Joseph Harwood as he transforms himself from a male/androgynous appearance into a female appearance.

{Joseph really shows us how make-up is art and how you can express yourself and construct our own identity}.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBxGwTEc0AQ

Joseph answers questions about androgyny and gender…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cAYU7D0wfY

To watch more of Joseph’s make-up artistry videos…

http://www.youtube.com/user/jhmemoires

For more information on Joseph Harwood…

http://www.josephharwood.com/

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Please enjoy David Bowie’s new song “The Stars Are Out Tonight”…

Tilda Swinton & David Bowie…An Artistic Dream…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gH7dMBcg-gE

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I am most grateful for a class I took called “sociology of gender relations” because it enlightened me about gender.

This class also brought to my awareness the struggles of women, gay people, transgendered people and other types of minorities.

More than anything this class convinced me that everyone deserves equality, there needs to be more love, compassion and acceptance in the world and that we should collectively fight discrimination of all kinds.

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For more information on…

Tilda Swinton…

Tilda and Bjork…

please visit her internet movie database page…

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0842770/

Twitter…https://twitter.com/NotTildaSwinton

David Bowie…http://www.davidbowie.com/

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I would love to read your thoughts on this post or about gender, identity, androgyny and/or beauty.

What are your favourite Tilda Swinton performances/films?

What are your favourite David Bowie songs/albums and alter egos?

What are your alter egos?

Tilda Swinton…a brilliant artist/actress/chameleon

Peace & Namaste…

Gabriel Byrne Discusses The Abyss of Depression & Alcoholism…

11 Aug

Gabriel Byrne discusses depression and alcoholism in an interview on Irish television channel RTÉ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g51AcR8Et-g

It really is an excellent interview from a show is called The Meaning of Life.

To watch the full interview, please click here: http://archive.org/embed/GabrielByrne-TheMeaningOfLifeWithGayByrne

You can also click on this link Gabriel Byrne Meaning of Life Interview. Then click on the January 17, 2010 The Meaning of Life with Gay Byrne interview.

http://www.rte.ie/tv/meaningoflife/s2p1.html Gabriel Byrne The Meaning of Life

GabrielByrne-TheMeaningOfLifeWithGayByrne

{I apologize but I was unable to embed or send this video as those options were not available. If you could help me to embed this video from the internet archive, then I would be ever so grateful}.

I copied and pasted the description of the interview from the show’s web site:

“…The basis for a searching interview, in which Gabriel talks engagingly and openly about his life: his decision to enter a UK seminary at the age of eleven; his experiences of clerical sexual abuse; his reasons for giving up on any idea of priesthood and his search for another vocation, which found fulfilment in acting; his relationships with the two key women in his life, Aine O’Connor and Ellen Barkinhis on-going struggle with twin demons – alcoholism and depression – in which he knows he is far from alone in this country; and the reason he thinks so much about death.”

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Gabriel says that alcoholism and depression are seen as moral failings– as if something is wrong with the person for being “weak” or “not good enough.” These feelings of inadequacy have probably existed before. They only become exacerbated with drinking and by the judgment of others.

***Alcohol only adds fuel to the fire.***

He also notes that alcoholism and depression are often intertwined; hence the “twin demons” reference. They are so inextricably linked that I wonder how one can be divorced from the other. I don’t believe that they can- especially since alcoholism is a depressant. People drink to get out of depression. The more they drink, the more depressed they become; hence, the vicious and self-destructive cycle continues.

Gabriel says that, “Part of the disease of alcoholism is removing yourself from reality as quickly as possible.” Essentially he is describing an emotional disconnection, spiritual disconnection- numbness.  He describes binge drinking as a plague because people emotionally disconnect from themselves, from others and from life. 

I think it is vital for people to be honest about depression and addiction {in any form}. Awareness and honesty is what will give them insight. Courage will allow them to look in the mirror and take the first step on the path to healing.

Then people can start to fight their demons.

I pray that they win.

*People suffering from any addiction or illness need our compassion.

{You never know if your compassion can give them strength to battle their demons and to heal}.

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For more information on Gabriel Byrne,

please visit…Byrneholics.

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Peace & Namaste…