Silence isn’t always golden. Not in Ingmar Bergman’s book. His various film treatises on silence speak to us loudly on many planes of emotional existence, and those planes are never smooth. Of course, silence can provide a necessary space for personal truths to appear. For imaginings to ripen and take hold. Or, a respite from parents’ demands or fighting. We’ve grown used to the railings against a silent God that refuses to answer in The Seventh Seal (1958), Through A Glass Darkly (1961), and Winter’s Light (1962). But not, ironically, in The Silence (1963). Instead, Bergman gives us silence filled...

Can a cold narcissistic father drive a girl insane? The short answer is yes. Wilfred Bion defined psychosis as hatred of reality. And, what is there to love about the reality of a self-obsessed father who cares more about his own desires than his children? Facing that is horror. We see it in Through The Glass Darkly, in Karin diagnosed as schizophrenic. She’s turned away from reality, can’t accept Martin’s love; searches in her other-world for a kind father-God that might give her salvation and hope. When all she finds is a stony-faced spider trying to invade her, she must...

“I sing because I can experience a lot of feelings…” Janis Joplin had no one to hear her feelings. The most chilling part of Amy Berg’s documentary, Janis: Little Girl Blue, is to witness the cold formality of Mother and Father Joplin. No one could miss Janis’ hunger for love. Less obvious were the roots of that hunger: the trauma of a childhood with impenetrable parents. Dorothy and Seth Joplin, in their uncanny similarity to Grant Wood’s "American Gothic” farmer with pitchfork and wife, were emotionally remote and had no warmth. Neither could hear Janis’ feelings of loneliness and hurt. Janis...

In her Human Rights Campaign award speech on 3/14/15, Shonda Rhimes said that writing as a child saved her. I’m sure it did. Yet, I think her ability to create a world of people who served as placeholders until she could find her “people in the real world” is the most important thing. Shonda was able to persevere through a lonely childhood of feeling marginalized, erased, and judged and to believe her loneliness wasn’t forever. Knowing that there are people out there to find is the real solution to loneliness. Some lonely people lose faith very early and retreat into...

Why does someone create an illusion of who they are? Wes Anderson, a master of psychological ironies, tells us quite a lot about that subject in The Grand Budapest Hotel. At the center of the film is M. Gustave trying to live as someone he is not. All around him are juxtapositions of barbarism with humanity, slapstick with straight-up serious considerations of loneliness, greed, and the sometimes-desperate need for love. Is M. Gustave immune to these feelings? Or is his carefully worn illusory identity an attempt to cover them up? We all have a story. Sometimes that story is deeply hidden...