*Let us draw, here, on all three (main) senses of the word “dear”:

                   1.beloved, loved, cherished, worthy

                   2.High-priced, expensive, hard to get

                   3.(Archaic) hard, grievous

                                                                         Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary



In the Greece of the financial recession, people haven’t quit watching movies and talking about love. On December 11th 2016, the Greek Society of the New Lacanian School (N. L. S.) organized an event involving the viewing and discussion of the film The Lobster, by Yorgos Lanthimos, which received the 2015 Jury Prize at Cannes, an award for Best Screenplay by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association in 2016, and was nominated for Best Original Screenplay at the 2017 Academy Awards.

Arguably, cinematic creation may, on occasion, constitute for the speaking being a more decent negotiation with the real of libidinal satisfaction than the negotiation through money.

And if “in psychoanalysis, the unconscious is an unconscious that thinks hard,”[1] Lanthimos’ film certifies that the artist, prior to the analyst, thinks equally hard on love.

Tracing a “love story” amidst extreme horror and cynicism

The plot:

In a near future, single people are arrested and transferred to the Hotel. There, they are given 45 days to find a partner. If they fail to, they are transformed into the animal of their choice and sent to the Forest. The hero’s choice is to be transformed into a lobster. He escapes this world of Twos, this side of society that blackmails, demands, and makes finding a mate the only option. He goes to the Forest, to the world of Loners, the world of the One. However, this world is also relentless regarding: it demands you never get close to anyone, never flirt, never share, never love. Of course, the unexpected occurs: where love is forbidden, our hero falls in love. In spite of the rules of the Forest.

The discussion organized by the Greek Society after the viewing picked up on many of the question sevoked in the film:

Do people always need to be in a relationship?

How do others treat those who fail to be in a relationship?

How is it that not being with someone is considered a failure?

How far would someone go to be in a relationship?

Much was heard in the discussion with the analysts that followed: on the symbolic inscription into gender, on the sexual position, on Liebesbedingung (the cause of desire in Freud), on the sexual relationship and love (which aspires to fill its lack), on the modalities of love, which are extremely sensitive to the surrounding culture, and on Lacan, who taught us that “love is to give what one doesn’t have.”[2]

My personal contribution was based on the hero’s statement at the beginning of the film: “I think I should be registered as a heterosexual.” I argued that, in our psychoanalytic view, the process of inscribing into a sexual position or gender is a signifying function – it defies biology and any gene-type coercion. The human, the sole speaking being, is a construction of speech, chooses through speech the position he wants to be assigned. Either as part of a fantasy or as part of a delusional construction, utterances, words, signifiers structure our position. Thus, heterosexuality, homosexuality, transsexuality, bisexuality belong to the universe of speech and, this being the case, they can be registered within, inscribed into the framework of a statement of the subject.

The paradoxes of psychoanalysis emerged too. The fact that any kind of enjoyment, including death drive, is as good as any other, resonated with all its paradoxical quality and power. In place of talking about money, the use of psychoanalytic discourse was suggested in Danaos Cinema, late that afternoon, as a more dignified outlet for the suffering of the speaking being and its discomfort towards civilization. In Greece, where the unemployment rate has reached 27%, the interests of life are still served.

[1] Lacan J., «Place, origine et fin de mon enseignement», Mon enseignement, Paris, Seuil, October 2005, p.16.

[2] Lacan J. Le Séminaire, livre V, Les formations de l’inconscient [1957-1958], texte établi par

J.-A.Miller, Paris, Seuil, 1998, p.210