On mother! – A Film for Druids

Aug 31st, 2018 | By | Category: Uncategorized

I finally got around to seeing the movie mother! starring Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem, which premiered last autumn. I had since then been planning to see the Darren Aronovsky film after reading an interview with the writer- director in which he referred to the film as an intentionally “allegorical work”. I watched the film last night, and while the entire film does not seem to me to have the coherence of a unified allegory, parts of it do. It is packed with symbolic material nonetheless. Furthermore, while it is not a “Druid film,” it is a work with much appeal for Druids and Pagans.

A clinician’s aside: In psychoanalysis, we know that great art can always answer the question, “What does this work have to do with me?” It may be objectively excellent in a technical sense, and also speak to great themes that are relevant generation after generation, as Kenneth Clark highlights in his discussion of masterpieces. However, if it cannot answer that question, it will not be great art to you.

A layered, symbolically rich film such as this one works like the technique of “overdetermined interpretation” in
psychoanalysis. An interpretation in this clinical context is any intervention by the psychoanalyst that makes something that is unconscious, conscious. An  overdetermined interpretation is an interpretation that is so vague that the patient can read into it whatever is psychologically needed in a given moment. It is in part this potential that the film is valuable to those on the Pagan path.

mother! was billed as horror genre. With the exception of a shocking (and brilliant) scene that graphically portrayed the Eucharist, I did not experience it as such.  This is an art film and it is astonishing that it had the backing of a major studio. For me, the film worked as a viscerally powerful critique of patriarchy, monotheism (especially Christianity) and how the two are intertwined, supporting each other.

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