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Alan A. Stone, MD

Alan A. Stone, MD

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It is clear from a 21st century psychiatric perspective that Augustine was suffering from PTSD, but Augustine was victimized in ways far more horrific than filmmaker Alice Wincour revealed. More in this film review by Alan Stone, MD.

Shakespeare's understanding of the human condition miraculously transcends his culture, time, and place.

David Cronenberg’s film "A Dangerous Method" tells the story of the relationship between Freud and Jung and a woman named Sabina who had a considerable influence on both of them.

Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life is not easy entertainment, but for psychiatrists who might welcome an encounter with a brilliant, uncompromising mind, The Tree of Life is enthralling.

Marco Bellocchio, one of the most psychoanalytically oriented filmmakers of his generation, entered the annals of Italian cinema in the 1960s to almost universal acclaim from critics at home and abroad.

During my residency training at Harvard’s McLean Hospital from 1956-1959, the treatment of choice for all of our patients was intensive psychodynamic psychotherapy.

The White Ribbon is an instant classic of European cinema. Filmed in black and white and set in a rural village in northern Germany circa 1912, it may remind you of early Bergman, Buñuel, and other great European filmmakers of the black-and-white era, but it is an homage to none of them.

A Serious Man—a film that explores their Jewish roots in Minnesota. Not roots in the genealogical or autobiographical sense but from a removed and more philosophical perspective—what does it mean to be a Jew, both as a matter of social identity and as someone who is supposed to believe in God or Hashem, the word religious Jews invoke so as not to take the name of the Lord in vain. Hashem will roll so glibly off the tongues of the Coens’ Jews, it will seem more like affectation than piety.

Those who know Sacha Baron Cohen will tell you he is nothing like Brüno or the other characters he impersonates. The third son of an orthodox Jewish family, he grew up in a suburb of London, went to fancy British schools, and spent a year living in Israel. He read history at Christ’s College, Cambridge, where an interest in the role of American Jews in the Civil Rights Movement led to his thesis on the 1964 murders of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner in Mississippi. Not the biography of a man you would imagine inventing Ali G, an American ghetto rapper; or Borat, an anti-Semitic TV reporter from Kazakhstan; or Brüno, a gay Austrian fashionista who wants to be as famous as that other Austrian, Adolf Hitler. These characters have made Baron Cohen one of the preeminent icons of popular culture.

Synecdoche, New York, screenwriter Charlie Kaufman’s directorial debut, was greeted with Best Film of the Year from critics and catcalls from moviegoers. It is a film that only someone like Psychiatric Times’ Editor in Chief, Dr Ron Pies, could fully understand (ie, a psychiatrist who knows about arcane neuroscience and literature). The problems start with the title. Most people have no idea what “synecdoche” means or how to pronounce it. Looking it up is not much help. The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as “a figure [of speech] by which a comprehensive term is used for a less comprehensive or vice versa, as whole for part or part for whole, genus for species or species for genus, etc.” The commentary adds to the confusion: “Formerly sometimes used loosely or vaguely, and not infrequently misexplained.” No matter. Most critics did not explain it anyway, emphasizing instead its pronunciation—si-NECK-doh-kee—which sort of rhymes with Schenectady (sken-ECK-tuh-dee), where the film “seems” to be set. They outdid each other, too, in their praise of the film, while being surprisingly candid about their inability to explain it. Roger Ebert called it “Joycean,” with the richness of literature. He enthused, “It’s about you. Whoever you are,” even though he conceded that he had not fully understood it. As for the ambiguity of the title, he advised readers to “get over it.”


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