Thursday, October 2, 2008


The Doctor's Dream (1978) 16mm, black and white, sound, 23 min

BY Ken Jacobs

THE DOCTOR'S DREAM, not the title of the found film as originally made for television... the editing device was to count the number of shots and start the film off with numerically middle shot and then, after that, the shot that had preceded it, and the shot that had followed it, and keep fanning further and further out until you saw the first shot of the film followed by the last shot, which was of the painting the movie is based on... It's called 'The Doctor;' it's in the Tate Gallery in London... and it has an interesting subliminal image appropriate to my discovery, via this reconstruction, of the real story of the film. A powerful sexual event was hidden within its banality. Maybe without intention, but it's what was gripping in the movie, if ever the movie was gripping. And now in the painting, seen from a little distance, the doctor contemplates the sleeping girl with, you don't have to agree with me, his curled fist doubling as a penis entering his mouth (I'm sad to find myself so constrained in my speech)... Maybe this is the traditional method of smuggling forbidden information, hot stuff, through customs from unadmitting mind to unadmitting mind. --K. J.

1 comment:

Josephine Noble said...

I thought there were two montages. There was one in the beginning/middle and another towards the very last couple of minutes. The montage was combining both happy memories of the child's youth with her sickness. These happy memories were mostly related to the Doctor that was treating her (when he gave her the calf, when she hadn't seen him for a while and commented on that to him, etc.). It seems as though there was a stronger relationship between the Doctor and the patient (the girl child). Even though the beginning he was seen helping her brother with his broken arm, he seemed more attentive to the girl child. There were clips of him spending so much of his time figuring out a cure for her disease that his wife even made a comment about his neglected behavior towards her. The montage, in my opinion, concluded the strong bond in friendship and the ends one would go to in order to cure or save that friendship or even love.
Posted by Josephine Noble at 11:13 AM