Viggo Mortensen to Chair the Twelfth Glenn Gould Prize Jury & DIRECT in 2018

Viggo News

Jump to page:
RSS feed for this page
Print View Link to this newsitem

From the VIFF ADM Press Conference

Found By: Chrissie
Categories: Media
Our thanks to Chrissie for the find.

Cronenberg 'cures' cast in Freud-Jung drama

© RAI.
Director David Cronenberg claims to have had ulterior motives when he chose the cast for "A Dangerous Method," a period drama that examines the relationship between the founders of modern psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung.

"I think my cast has great need of psychoanalysis, which is why I cast them actually, to introduce them gently to the idea that they needed help, a lot of help," Cronenberg joked during a packed news conference Friday before the world premiere of his latest film in competition at the Venice Film Festival.

Cronenberg motioned to Viggo Mortensen, who appears as Freud and Michael Fassbender, who plays Jung, Freud's protege. Also present was Keira Knightley, who portrays Sabina Spielrein, the psychiatric patient-turned-analyst who came between the two men.

"And you can see they are much better people. Before they were messes. When I found them, they were neurotics, hopeless," Cronenberg said to great laughter.

Mortensen played along. "Now we dress ourselves," he retorted.

The movie focuses on Freud's relationship with Jung, from their mutual enthusiasm at finding kindred spirits in the development of new methods of treating psychiatric patients, then building up to their ultimate split over differences over Freud's adherence to theories about sex and Jung's interest in mysticism as a path to self-realization.

While their professional differences were couched in mostly clinical terms, a clear catalyst for their alienation was Knightley's Spielrein, an hysteric whose recovery under Jung's treatment validates Freud's sexual theories. The mentor-protege relationship goes awry when Jung -- under the influence of a patient played by Vincent Cassel whose creed is to never repress anything -- gives into Spielrein's sexual advances.

While the two psychiatrists seek to intellectualize emotion, neither Freud nor Jung come off as poster children for psychoanalysis. Freud alienates Jung when he stubbornly declines to relate his dreams to preserve his authority. And Jung disappoints his mentor when he enters into an affair with Spielrein, then lies about it.

"I think one thing you see in the movie is that their intellectual positions weren't so vastly different. It was really a question of pride. They behaved as childishly as the patients they were trying to help," Mortensen said.

Knightley's Spielrein perhaps makes a stronger case for their methods. She not only recovers from her hysteria, she successfully becomes a doctor, is willing to explore her own emotional depths, boldly confronting Jung's ambiguity about their relationship, and ultimately moves on with her life to marry a fellow Russian Jew.

In real life, Spielrein returned to her native Russia, where she became one of the most distinguished analysts of the new Soviet Union, according to the press notes. In 1941, she, by then widowed, and her two daughters were murdered by Nazi occupying forces.

The horror of the two World Wars that soon would ravage Europe were somehow foreshadowed in the film, which ends in 1913. At one point, Freud warns Spielrein not to put her trust in Aryans, that they would always be seen as Jews, and near the end when Jung recounts a dream he had of blood flooding over the Alps into Switzerland.

Screenwriter Christopher Hampton, who adapted Ian McEwan's "Atonement," exhaustively researched the characters, delving into their vast correspondence.

"You have to realize, at this era in Vienna, there were maybe five to eight mail deliveries every day," Cronenberg said. "It was like the Internet before the Internet. So if you wrote a letter in the morning, you expected by the afternoon to get a replay. So there were tons of letters among all these characters, and in these letters the quoted each other."

The trove of source material makes the script "very, very accurate," Cronenberg said.

Knightley went deeper, reading biographies and Spielrein's diaries, as well as speaking to analysts, to better understand her character. Fassbender said his main resource was the script.

"It was written in such a way that I felt it was like a piece of music," Fassbender said. "Only through lots of repetition did I start to uncover the rhythms of the piece."

He did make one concession to outside research.

"I got a great book on Jung that was 'Jung for children.' It was sort of an idiots' handbook. And I think I found pretty much everything I needed to find in that book," he said.

Mortensen still hasn't had enough. He appealed to the descendants of Jung to release even more of the Swiss psychiatrist's letters.

"I just want to know if the Jung family would be so decent as to release the remainder of the letters that he wrote to Miss Spielrein," he said. "Because they are very good reading. It's very entertaining material, and I'd like to see more of it."

© AP. Images © RAI.

Print View Link to this newsitem

Arrival at Venice International Film Festival
Found By: Chrissie
Many thanks to Chrissie for surfacing this video of the cast of A Dangerous Method, arriving - Venice-style - at the festival.


Print View Link to this newsitem

Viggo/Freud Buzz

© APA.
Mortensen gives Doctor Freud a patriarchal presence that justifies the title of "fatherly figure" given to him by Jung, played by an elegant Fassbender who guards an inner world where, unlike his mentor, peace doesn't reign.

Domenico La Porta
2 September 2011

A drier, more contained figure, Freud is brought wonderfully to life by Mortensen in a bit of unexpected casting that proves entirely successful.

Todd McCarthy
Hollywood Reporter
2 September 2011

Fortunately, things improve a great deal once Freud arrrives. Mortensen (aided by probably the most significant nose prosthesis since Nicole Kidman's in "The Hours") is, as he so often is these days, tremendous, bringing a patrician wit and real pathos to the part.....Mortensen caps off a trilogy of perfect performances for Cronenberg (and is the film's best bet for award nods, we imagine).

Oliver Lyttelton
The Playlist
2 September 2011

Mortensen has become one of Cronenberg's go-to guys in recent years, and you can see why: Even in a period film like this one -- a picture that runs the heavy risk of being ponderous and stiff -- he can slip himself into the scenery with a "Don't mind me, here in my Sigmund Freud getup" naturalness....And his exchanges with Mortensen's Freud are among the movie's greatest pleasures. He's the straight man to Mortensen's sly jokester. At their first meeting, Freud listens patiently as Jung outlines Spielrein's symptoms in great detail. He offers one observation, which Jung rejects; he offers another that Jung also pooh-poohs. "Well," he says, after waiting one patient beat, "perhaps it's a Russian thing."

Stephanie Zacharek
2 September 2011

And Mortensen's Freud, a sardonic, ineffably sinister presence who rarely raises his voice above a silky-smooth purr, calmly steals the picture; following the thesp's terrific work in "A History of Violence" and "Eastern Promises," his third collaboration with Cronenberg has resulted in something no less distinctive.

Justin Chang
2 September 2011

For those of us who prefer Freudian rigour to Jung's proto-New Age wooliness, it's heartening that Viggo Mortensen's portrayal of Freud is endearingly complex. If Mortensen's cigar-puffing Freud at times seems inordinately stiff (perhaps reinforced by the fact that Hampton's script has Jung accusing him of "rigid pragmatism"), he's at least witty.

Richard Porton
2 September 2011

© Images © APA.

Print View Link to this newsitem

Hi Res from L'Uomo Vogue

Source: L'Uomo Vogue
What a treat! We have been lucky enough to receive the hi res images from the September 2011 issue of L'Uomo Vogue. Enjoy!

Click on images to enlarge.

© L'Uomo Vogue.
© L'Uomo Vogue.
© L'Uomo Vogue.
© L'Uomo Vogue.
© L'Uomo Vogue.
© L'Uomo Vogue.

© L'Uomo Vogue.

Print View Link to this newsitem

Images from Venice

Categories: Media
A couple of quick images for you from today's events at VIFF.

© Getty/AP.

Display options:
Order by:        
Jump to page:
RSS feed for this page
Last edited: 21 February 2018 08:25:39