This is a marvellous film. Made in Germany in 1926 it is about the psychoanalytic process, scripted by Hans Neumann and Colin Ross. The psychoanalysts Hans Sachs and Karl Abraham, both members of Freud’s inner circle, provided technical advice. Newspaper records digitized by the Australian National Library show it was played to some acclaim in 1928-29 – in Sydney and Melbourne, and in Launceston, Tasmania, In Queensland it visited Brisbane and the regional ‘planter’ sugarcane towns, Mackay and in Cairns and Townsville.
About a man, apparently happily married, who suddenly develops a phobia about knives, the film undertakes to explore the man’s unconscious, a result of his consultations with a psychoanalyst. Of course it is clear that this film was shown in many other countries, as well as in Australia. But this discovery of its showing, and possibly considerable local interest, amid reams of newspaper reports about the nature of Freud’s theory and its significance in 1920s Queensland, reveals a community of people interested in such complex ideas… distance may not have been such a tyrant after all.
There is much more to this film to explore… not least being the interpretations of psychoanalytic ideas brought by Sachs and Abraham.