chapter  10
15 Pages

The accessibility of the text: an analysis of The Lady from Shanghai

The following text is an analysis of Orson Welles's The Lady from Shanghai. Written by Lucilla Albano, who teaches history of cinema at the University of Florence, it documents what was really an essential stage in women's - and men's - I scientific' research into cinema in Italy and elsewhere. This important phase was textual analysis. The methodology proposed by Lucilla Albano for approaching the text is still little known or explored and is fertile in possibilities. It is derived from the theory of Ignacio Matte Blanco, a psychoanalist now living in Rome. His theoretical discourse is founded on an interest in mathematics, in particular the theory of logical types and the concept of the infinite. Taking the characteristics of the unconscious described by Freud and rereading them in terms of mathematical logic, Matte Blanco identifies the existence in the unconscious of the principle of symmetry, a principle by which a relation and its converse are treated as identical. Matte Blanco then puts forward the theory of bi-Iogic, the result of two types of logic: the bivalent (that is, based on the Aristotelian pattern) and the symmetrical, which subverts the principle of incompatibility. Matte Blanco's psychoanalytic theory does not conform to the Freudian-Lacanian reference system which is predominant in psychoanalytically based AngloAmerican film studies. It can offer a new, interesting research

prospect which takes among its starting-points the affirmation of contradiction, multiple times and spaces, 'infinite' experiences. Matte Blanco's seminal text is The Unconscious as Infinite Sets (1975). Amongst others are 'Expression in symbolic logic of the characteristics of the system ucs' (1959) and his writings on artistic creation which were recently published in the Italian magazine Filmcritica (1986).