NCSPP

Northern California Society for Psychoanalytic Psychology

VINCENT AWARD

Did you watch the 6 minute video "Vincent" by Tim Burton? 

Click here to watch and then read the reviews. 

Our top 2 choices for most intriguing review go to Brad Falconer, M.A. and Adam Beyda, Psy.D. We liked them both! We also got several other interesting analyses. Click here to read analyses by Will Collins, M.A. and Eric Essman, M.A. Thank you all for writing.

Brad Falconer

J'adore the work of Tim Burton, and I always have, so long as memory serves anyway. I start there because it seems important to hold some fondness for a subject before submitting it to analysis of any sort; otherwise, there's a danger of getting caught up in an enterprise more sinister than therapeutic, as the main of human history is ever straining to remind us. So let there be no doubt in the reader's mind: when I was a kid, Burton's film "Edward Scissorhands" did wonders for my worries about being excessively odd. To my young mind, there could be little question that Burton loved his gloomy outsiders -- wartless parts and all. The director's up-with-freaks sensibility, so tormented yet so tongue-in-cheek, greatly inspired me to go on trying to find a place for my true self in the real world, despite how imperfectly hospitable reality invariably showed itself to be. For that, I remain grateful to the artist for his labors, which were no doubt considerable. 

That said, I imagine Burton caught on early to the transformative power of hard work done in the name of love. Case in point: a director and his crew must endure extraordinary strain to produce even a few short minutes of animated footage using the delightfully old-school and organic "stop-motion" technique, of which Burton's short film "Vincent" is a charming example. Imagine making painstakingly minute adjustments to a tiny, delicate doll, taking extraordinary care never to rush its movement or overtake its own innate subjectivity, then allowing yourself but a short moment when all is finally done to document the barely perceptible result. Then imagine repeating this process 24 times, each iteration performed with the same care, attunement, and patience, each repetition being paradoxically one-of-a-kind, never the same session twice. Through all these hours of creative labor, you can have no real idea how things will turn out, but you can be certain that even if all were to go ideally, your considerable devotion would still yield only enough frames to comprise a single second of real-time film. (To get a whole minute of footage, you have to prepare yourself for just north of 1400 sessions -- no small task, to be sure.) This is the exacting technique that stop-motion animation requires. It's a wondrously bonzai-scaled and glacially-paced craft for which few living artisans have the time, space, or patience. Sound anything like analysis? 

Adam Beyda

A black cat ushers us into the world of Vincent, a boy who is not as nice, nor perhaps as tormented, as he appears. Stuck at home, and in himself, Vincent seems subject to a trauma that is never known but only dramatized in his morbid obsessions -- "the horrors he's invented" -- and in the film's structure. 

We hear of sister, aunt, mother, and a "wife" but no masculine, with the exception of the narrator, Vincent Price. This place of the paternal is not simply distant, for narrator Price tells us young Vincent in fact wants "to be just like Vincent Price." That he wants to be the narrator is suggestive of the role of grandiosity and contrivance in Vincent's psychology, of the self-dramatizing, knowing, and (falsely) whimsical character of his suffering, which may be related to a perversely constructed masculinity. 

But whence all this display? When Vincent reads Poe and discovers "horrible news he could not survive, for his beautiful wife had been buried alive," why does he identify so? Perhaps the horrifying image is an echo of the unsayable trauma, its character or sequelae; a deadness in his feeling connection to life and to the feminine inside himself. Vincent expresses himself in the only way he can, through action. Digging up his mother's flower bed suggests the oedipal aspect of his dilemma. 

When his mother, who had "banished" him to his room, enters in with an angry (annihilating?) "go out and play," the rupture from the unconscious is reiterated. Vincent is rendered silent, unable to formulate what cannot be heard by the other. At the center of himself, and of the film, is this silence. What it might contain or signify is unknown. It is, for the time being, a blankness that acts as a medium for hysterical hallucinations.