Collaborative Assignment: Cross-cultural Psychology and French cinema. By Natacha Pawa and Jonathan Pickens


  1. A brief statement of the context of the course 

Our Assignment is an imaginary work on the intersection of Psychology and French cinema. It  would be a project which encourages students to reflect on the psychological manifestations of traumatic past events  on people life. We will take as our source a French film of Alain Resnais: Hiroshima mon Amour, to see the mechanism of trauma and that of memory recollection. We want it to be done for our Psychology  242 course on Memory and trauma.  We want our students to watch and reflect how the mnemonic process in memory recollection work and to use Freud and Schachter to evaluate those mnemonic process.



  1. Assignment Draft


Step 1  These are questions that should direct you while watching the movie

Think about

  • Nevers and Hiroshima: Onset of traumas. Hiroshima(both the place and the man as the catalysts of the memory telling/recovery)
  • The sensorial perceptions at work : Sight, hearing, touch, taste
  • Memories and forgetting: What do both remembered at first ? What has she forgotten  or does she reveal at last?
  • What events onset or terminate each of the above process?
  • Link to the film 123 movie: https://gomovies.pet/film/hiroshima-mon-amour-6400/watching.html?ep=771772


Step 2 Pay attention to these movie clips

  • Opening scene indistinct forms. Voice:  ‘J’ai vu… tu n’as  rien vu’. Discourse/counterdiscourse. The narrator’s voice.
  • 19min visual memory
  • 22 min beginning of the narrating of the past. Memory recollection
  • 45 min the man plays the role of a therapist>>directing her through the painful memory process
  • Questions of the man:  la Loire, Nevers,When you are in cell…Subtitution or replacement: the Japanese lover takes the place of the German lover
  • 56 min. The ringing of the bell
  • 57 min Forgetting process begin.It is a beginning og healing
  • 1: 00 the therapeutic slap when  she starts self complaining about her lost love.>> it announces like a return to reality
  • Forgetting the forms: the hand… but she can still feel the pain she had. Why?


Step 3 Using  Freud or Schachter(you might use both if applied)

  • To what extend can you apply this quotation of Freud to the heroine of the film:

“repressing tendencies can find a substitute for repression in a weakening or lessening of whatever is distasteful to them”?

  • What do the edges of the woman’s life in Nevers( love- shame- pleasure-hatred- repression- -self reproach- mourning ,etc) reveal  about her  general condition at Nevers and about her Japanese love story?
  • How does the mechanism of repression and forgetfulness operate  in her case ? What is repressed? How does transference and transposition work here?
  • Can you draw a connection among “sight, ear, love, pleasure, pain, taste” in  the forgetting  vs  memory recovery/telling  in the movie?
  • Do you see any resistance from the lady’s memories to emerge or any forms of distortions in her memory?
  • Is there any instance of hypnoïd state.?

You should  address these issues in an essay  of 4 pages using MLA 8 or the Chicago citation or a 20 min presentation

3. What technological support?

Students  will use Camtasia/ Video, or a podcast to cut some movies clips to support the assignment.

Camtasia would be great in the sense that they could isolate any pertinent or relevant movie clips to support their presentation or essay.

4. Criteria to be used for evaluation:

As this is an advanced psychology class, the main point to evaluate would be how well students masters Freud’s and Schachter’s theories on memory and trauma. That would be  80 % of the assignment. (note that this is  distributed through the 5 questions of the assignment; each answer will be 16%)

For those who choose the presentation, the effective use of  Camtesia will be 20%  of the grade

The same  20 % would be directed to the appropriate use of MLA/Chicago style and on  the use English language for those who write a paper.




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