This article examines the place of film comedy in Jacques Lacan's psychoanalysis. It takes as its starting point Lacan's most extensive consideration of a single film, the comedy Never on Sunday (1960), directed by Jules Dassin and set in the Greek port of Piraeus. It places Lacan's reading of the film in relation to his other interventions on cinema, which are scattered throughout his seminars and are more numerous and heterogeneous than generally assumed, drawing especially on cinema of the late 1950s and early 1960s. The article shows how Lacan's analysis of Never on Sunday contributes to the articulation of a theory of comedy in The Ethics of Psychoanalysis, a seminar best known for its treatment of Antigone and tragic drama. It then locates this theory of comedy and reading of Never on Sunday in relation to key concepts of the Ethics such as jouissance and the moral good(s). It finishes by proposing a general model of Lacanian reading as “cut” rather than interpretation, that is, an analysis that does not seek to account for a text as a whole but, rather, to find the correct point at which to break into it.
Peter Buse; Psychoanalysis on Sunday: Lacan, Cinema, Comedy. Genre 1 July 2017; 50 (2): 219–238. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00166928-3890046
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