When One plus One equals One: Truth and Blindness in the 0edipal myth and Denis Villeneuve’s film Incendies

Gila Ofer, Batya Shoshani, and Michael Shoshani


This paper discusses the intricacies of the pursuit of knowledge and truth, mediated by love and hate, as epitomised in the myth of Oedipus and in Villeneuve’s 2010 film Incendies. The film resonates deeply with the psychoanalytic experiences of patients who struggle with the existential plight of searching for their truth and pasts in the process of becoming subjects, while simultaneously being seduced by blindness and deceit. The protagonists have experienced disastrous traumas, and as the film unfolds, the viewers are able to trace the development of severe traumatic experiences into perverse defence organisations. The intriguing relationship between the myth of Oedipus and the film is depicted from several theoretical perspectives, in particular that of Bion, as well as through a literary lens that tracks the development from object to subject as depicted in the history of literature. It is argued that those who will not or cannot acknowledge the painful truth are in danger of eventually deteriorating into destructive narcissism, which opens wide the door for diverse perverse constellations.


psychoanalysis and film; Oedipus myth; life and death drives; trauma;

Full Text:


DOI: https://doi.org/10.1234/fa.v0i81-82.390

All content © Free Associations.