On Wednesday 10th of June 2020 I attended the Film Group on APPCIOS community site and I wanted to write to express my thanks to the facilitators Richard Pratt and Susan MacIver by writing about my own subjective experience.
The first film we were invited to watch was Great Expectations (dir. David Lean, 1946). I have read many novels written by Charles Dickens and have been intrigued by the ethical and political flavour of his literature and how his fiction possibly sparked debates in parliament about moral and social reform. Though to be honest, I was not looking forward to watching the film, yet interestingly David Lean, the actors, the music and the cinematography touched me on many different levels. At one stage I was transported back in time sitting on the floor resting against my mother’s legs, my mother’s hands stroking my hair, watching the Sunday Matinee on the television.
I do not think I was alone with the complex affective, memorial, somatic and ideational experience. Others, I am sure, processed the experience in different ways and the film took on aspects that were represented visually, linguistically, somatically, sonically, gesturally and interpretatively in the group discussion.
These different aspects generated a special type of unconscious group work, as one interpretation made by an individual evoked within the rest of us an avalanche of associations, types of thinking and psychic states. This then appeared to promote a subjective movement that ultimately expressed the group’s thinking more than the original interpretation. This avalanche did not feel to me stifling or stressful, in fact surprisingly it opened us up, liberating areas of our minds so that we were able to dance in the snow of associations and thoughts, throwing snowballs of ideas to each other. Someone would catch a snowball and add another layer so that it grew in significance and another person would make his or her own snowball that glistened with its own resonance, but no less thoughtful or significant.
These snowballs full of meaning lead to a rich, fruitful and engaging discussion, including Bion’s thoughts on time standing still, Klein’s paranoid schizoid position, Steiner’s psychic retreat, Weldon’s perverse mothers, quotes and thoughts from Winnicott. The discussion continued in a more symbolic vein with mention of themes such as the powerful images against the phantasy, the emotionality conveyed throughout and the thought that perhaps it was all a dream. When the discussion turned to how Miss Havisham’s death scene vividly conveyed the emptiness of her inner life, my thoughts were how this group had enriched mine, also stimulating my intellectual senses and leaving a determination to reread papers and books on the theories mentioned.
Richard mentioned the symbolic meaning to a pie that Pip fed to Magwitch; Magwitch might have had his appetite sated but I left the group wanting more. My unconscious yearning was met the next day by a paper titled “The superego, narcissism and Great Expectations” by Graham Ingham, sent by Richard on recommendation from a member of the group.
I finish with a quote from Great Expectations also sent by Richard
"That was a memorable day to me, for it made great changes in me. But it is the same with any life. Imagine one selected day struck out of it, and think how different its course would have been. Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day."
I think this quote holds valuable meaning, as it was a memorable day when APPCIOS started its community site and the various different groups I have joined, have made great changes in me.