Searching the Psyche Through Cinema

Co-sponsored by the Kansas City Public Library


Our annual film series, “Searching the Psyche Through Cinema,” offers probing films followed by discussions featuring cinema and psychoanalytic experts for an examination of how celluloid gets under our skin and into our psyche. All screenings are free and continuing education credit is available. We would also like to invite you to a reception following the discussions.


The 2018 series features four films by David Lynch. Lynch has been described as the most important director of this era; the Renaissance man of modern American filmmaking; and the first popular Surrealist. Film critics Michelle LeBlanc and Colin Odell state Lynch’s films “are so packed with motifs, recurrent characters, images, compositions and techniques that you could view his entire output as one large jigsaw puzzle of ideas."


Presented in partnership with the Greater Kansas City and Topeka Psychoanalytic Center and the Kansas City Public Library

Sundays at 1:30 p.m.
Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St.


January 21, 2018 —The Elephant Man (1980; Rated PG; 124 minutes)

February 4, 2018 — Wild at Heart (1990; Rated R; 125 minutes)

February 18, 2018 — The Straight Story (1999; Rated G; 112 minutes)

March 4, 2018 — Blue Velvet (1986; Rated R; 120 minutes)


Cost for CME credit is $40 per film.


January 21, 2018 — The Elephant Man

In The Elephant Man (1980), a Victorian surgeon rescues a heavily disfigured man who is mistreated while scraping a living as a side-show freak. Explores themes of identity, dignity, and humanity with John Hurt, Anthony Hopkins, and Anne Bancroft. Discussants: Psychoanalyst Alice Bartlett, PhD and KCAI Assistant Professor of Filmmaking, Trey Hock, MFA.


February 4, 2018 - Wild at Heart

This 1990 dark comedy and thriller, Wild at Heart, starring Laura Dern, Nicolas Cage, and Diane Ladd looks at two young lovers on the lam trying to escape a parent’s deranged plans to stop them. Discussants: Psychoanalyst and psychiatrist, Jeremy Burd, MD and Kansas City Film Critics Circle member, Beck Ireland.

Learning Objectives:
After attending this film, participants should be able to:
1.    Identify the psychoanalytic themes and motivations of major characters in the film.
2.    Recognize how one's relationship with the film is personal and unique and can mean different things to the same person at different developmental stages in their lives.

This title is Rated R and is recommended for adult audiences only.


February 18, 2018 The Straight Story

In this surprising and heartfelt G-rated film, The Straight Story (1999), an old man makes a long journey by lawn-mower tractor to mend his relationship with an ill brother and stars Richard Farnsworth and Sissy Spacek. Discussants: Psychoanalyst Marilyn Metzl, PhD and film critic and journalist, Abby Olcese.


March 4, 2018 Blue Velvet

Blue Velvet (1986) starring Kyle McLachlan, Isabella Rossellini, and Dennis Hopper is perhaps Lynch’s quintessential study of his signature theme—looking at the dark underbelly hiding below the surface of old-fashioned American tradition. Discussants: Psychoanalyst Larry Tyndall, PhD and Kansas City Film Critics Circle president and reviewer for The Pitch, Eric Melin.

This title is Rated R and is recommended for adult audiences only.


This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of the American Psychoanalytic Association and the Greater Kansas City-Topeka Psychoanalytic Center. The American Psychoanalytic Association is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.”


The American Psychoanalytic Association designates this Live Activity for a maximum of 2 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.


IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION FOR ALL LEARNERS: None of the planners and presenters of this CME program have any relevant financial relationships to disclose.