Runaway Train: Violent Compulsion or Compelling Pity?

An Open Seminar from the Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies

  • Fri 22 Mar 19

    17:30 - 19:00

  • Southend Campus

    Room GB.3.46

  • Event speaker

    Dr Chris Nicholson, University of Essex

  • Event type

    Lectures, talks and seminars

  • Event organiser

    Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies, Department of

  • Contact details

    Debbie Stewart

The 1985 film Runaway Train was adapted from a screenplay by Akira Kurosawa. It is a depiction of how human beings can, in particular circumstances, degenerate into animals compelled toward violence and cruelty.

The film asks, given the inherent cruelty, hate and aggressiveness of human beings, are we in any sense redeemable? The possibility that redemption can be found though acts of altruism and sacrifice, is represented widely in art, film and literature, but what are the internal, intra-psychic foundations from which such lasting psychological patterns emerge?   
Using clips from the film, I will explore its underlying themes and show how Melanie Klein’s account of infantile aggression can be applied in a way that illuminates the very worst and best aspects of our human nature.

The Speaker

Dr Chris Nicholson is the Head of the Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies, University of Essex.  He teaches on several programmes, and has devised two new degrees, BA Therapeutic Care and BA Childhood Studies

Before joining the Department, Chris worked in a range of children's services and therapeutic communities.  He now provides training, supervision and consultation to organisations in the UK, Greece and India. He developed the Core Competency Framework for Therapeutic Community Practitioners and sits on the Executive Board of the charity, The Consortium of Therapeutic Communities.  His papers are published in the International Journal of Therapeutic Communities, and Gravesiana, the Journal of the Robert Graves Society for which he sits on the Editorial Board.  His book, Children and Adolescents in Trauma: Creative Therapeutic Approaches is published by Jessica Kingsley. 

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Entry is free and open to all.

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