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Oedipus in China
A Film by Baudouin Koenig
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The economic reforms introduced in China in 1978 generated profound social changes and new psychological pressures, creating increased levels of anxiety and depression amongst the populace. Over the last ten to fifteen years, the development of psychoanalysis in China reflects the changing needs of a society that is just learning how to express personal feelings.

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OEDIPUS IN CHINA visits a number of Chinese hospitals, mental health centers and universities, interviewing students, psychologists, psychotherapists, researchers and other mental health professionals, including Huo Datong, a pioneer of Chinese psychoanalysis known as the "Freud of China," and psychoanalyst Alf Gerlach and psychologist Margaret Haass Wisegart, German doctors who are helping to adapt psychoanalysis to traditional Chinese culture.

The film examines the historical roots of some of China's current psychological problems, including the negative impact of Mao's personality cult, the shattering of traditional social and family structures during the Cultural Revolution in the Sixties, and the contemporary psychological dynamics of single child families.

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OEDIPUS IN CHINA shows the new interest in psychotherapy in China through patient consultations, a mental health call center, hospital staff meetings, university classroom sessions, a center for autistic children, and an international mental health conference. What the film also reveals, however, is that for psychoanalysis to play a significant role in Chinese society will require democratic reforms that enable true freedom of speech.

"Fascinating." —Anthropology Review Database


52 minutes / color
Release: 2009
Copyright: 2008
Sale: $390

Subject areas:
Asia, China, East Asia, Health Issues, Medicine, Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis, Psychology

Related Titles:
Jacques Lacan Speaks: A unique film from the archives, a documentary based on a 1971 university speaking appearance by Jacques Lacan (1901-1981), the most influential psychoanalyst after Freud.

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Last Updated August 17, 2015
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