"La Caduta degli dei"
by Luchino Visconti


(The Damned) - The Failure of Individuation
by Georgije Vuletić (IAAP, SAS, Belgrade)


The main topic of the lecture is an interpretation of the film La Caduta degli dei, directed by Luchino Visconti. Despite Visconti’s disagreement, the title has been translated into English as The Damned. In the first place, a psychological side of the film will be illuminated, especially of one specific character, Martin von Essenbeck, interpreted by Helmut Berger. Many other meaning facets of the film, for example political, social, historical, etc., will be neglected. They will be mentioned only in the measure in which they are inseparable of the problem of human existence. Psychological drama of young Martin von Essenbeck will be considered as an illustration of individuation process, which is unsuccessful in this case, but a question mark remains.
The offered interpretation tries to enlighten some psychological factors, recognized long time ago in the theory and practise of analytical psychology. Luchino Visconti has virtuously and provocatively expressed these factors in the language of film art. The extremely complex character of Martin von Essenbeck provokes a huge spectre of emotions in a spectator. Interpretation offered in the lecture tries to present them more understandable. Scenes of paedophilia, incest, cruelty, homicide, transvestism, homosexuality and ideological fanatism, which are, more or less, explicit often provoke shock, resistance, denial and even disgust at the first confrontation with the film.
Thanks to interpretation by concepts of analytical psychology (archetype of the Great Mother, mother complex, separation complex, Shadow) these scenes gain new semantic nuances, new levels of meaning, which make bridgeable a seemingly infinite gap between Martin and a spectator.

Georgije Vuletić, PhD PhD is a psychotherapist and Jungian Analyst, an Individual Member of IAAP and a member of the Serbian Union of Associations for Psychotherapy. He was president of the Serbian Analytical Society from 2013 to 2018. He is an author of the book “Uvod u analitičku psihologiju Karla Gustava Junga” (“Introduction to the Analytical Psychology of C. G. Jung”) and of the paper “Disrupted narrative and narrative symbol”, published in the Journal of Analytical Psychology in February 2019. Besides a PhD degree in Psychology, he also earned a master’s degree in electronics and telecommunications.