The third film presentation in Quesnel Film Club’s winter series is A Dangerous Method, a brooding tale of dark desire and the dread that lurks behind genius, experienced by intellectual misfits in conventional society.
Veteran Canadian director David Cronenberg brings these recognizable obsessions to a new genre: the historical period piece.
A Dangerous Method is an extremely controlled film tackling a period of time in history when explanations about the human psyche were questioned in drastically new ways.
Set in Vienna on the eve of the First World War, the film explores the complex relationship between novice psychiatrist Carl Jung and his mentor Sigmund Freud.
Studying under the already well-established Freud, Jung practices his teacher’s methods while developing his own theories based on the clinical study of psychologically disturbed patients.
When a sick young Russian woman arrives at the clinic, both Jung and Freud are fascinated by her case and spellbound by her vulnerable yet dangerous sexuality.
The beautiful and profoundly disturbed Sabina Spielrein strikes an untapped well of unconscious emotions within Jung as he begins to probe her dark past.
When his primal attraction to Sabina deepens and their interaction intensifies, Jung begins to question the restrictions of Freud’s methodology and develops his own approach to human behaviour and treatment.
Strong supporting performances from Vincent Cassel as radial psychoanalyst Otto Gross – who encourages his patients to liberate rather than repress their base instincts – and Canadian newcomer Sarah Gadon as Jung’s morally uptight wife complete the web of troubled relationships that surround Sabina’s treatment.
Sharp-witted dialogue and a pristine turn-of-the-century Vienna setting, add a refined tone to a film that explores the anything-but-civilized depths of human desire.
A Dangerous Mind is showing Feb. 23, 6:30 p.m. at the Carib Theatre.
Tickets, which includes film club membership, are $9 (regular admission) and $7 (seniors.)