Jacques Lacan (1901-1981)
Jacques Lacan Psychanalyse I and II (1973)
In 1973 Benoit Jacquot shot two films on Jacques Lacan, Psychanalyse I and II, broadcast on French television the same year. Les Éditions du Seuil published the text the following year; the English version appeared in 1990 under the imprint of W.W. Norton.
The Institut National de l’Audovisuel (at that time called the Service de la Recherche at the O.R.T.F.) was headed by Pierre Schaeffer who was fond of making films about major thinkers. Contrary to others who freely participated, Lacan always avoided any association with television. Since I worked closely with Schaeffer, I talked him into this project — to make a film on or about Lacan. “You can always try,” he said, “if you succeed, so much the better!”
In those days Écrits was the only text available for reading and it had made a strong impression on me — I was very much taken with it. I had the intuition to bypass Lacan himself and instead reach Jacques-Alain Miller, whom I did not know personally, and ask him if he was interested in working with me on a film about Lacan. He was very polite but gave me a Normand’s answer: He would be interested only if Doctor Lacan was. He suggested I call Lacan and inform him about our conversation. Lacan said I should meet him at his office, but he probably forgot about it, because when I arrived I had to wait until his last patient left in order to speak with him. The idea of making a film with Miller convinced him. And then, owing to the fact that he almost never watched television, I told him how psychoanalysis was treated — or rather mistreated — particularly in a program broadcast a few weeks before with an eminent psychoanalyst who happened to be one of his disciples. He was thoroughly flabbergasted and this gave him one more reason to agree, to make his mark apropos of what could be done in the name of psychoanalysis.