About the book

The Spectral Body: Aspects of the Cinematic Oeuvre of Istvan Szabó
Publisher: Cambridge Scholars Publishing
Date of Publication: 01 April 2006
ISBN: 1904303757
Binding: Hardback

The Spectral Body: Aspects of the Cinematic Oeuvre of Istvan Szabó analyses some of the films made by Academy Award winner Hungarian filmmaker Istvan Szabo to establish an interpretative matrix disclosing the root of haunting effects in the visual and the narrative levels of the diegeses. By combining two distinct – and often incongruous – lines of psychoanalytic thought (by Nicolas Abraham and Jacques Lacan), Zoltán Dragon argues that these films are fuelled by the work of a phantom on all levels, hiding the secrets of the family history of the characters and producing uncanny visual scenarios to make the act of hiding even more effective.

The book brings the reader into the realm of the “phantom text” generating the film texts and crypt screens of the oeuvre, and investigates the causes of undiscussible and painful secrets that propel some pivotal characters to reappear in subsequent films, apparently driven by a compulsion to continue their narration, failing to finish their stories – even when they appear to be successful. The Spectral Body: Aspects of the Cinematic Oeuvre of István Szabó introduces a visual reinterpretation of Abraham’s phantom theory that opens up possibilities for an alternative way of studying film.