Identification Desire and Its Cinematic Arena
22 Multiple Identifications
Based on what has been said up to now it can be stated with quite some justification that identification comes about in many different ways, occasioned by distinguishable and dissimilar factors. It can occur to persons prepared (and expectant) to make use of the respective offers but it can also creep up on unsuspecting minds. While the norm seems to be that one identifies with just one personage in a movie–but I have referred a short while ago to a personal experience: that I identified with the two leads in Copycat, female ones, come to that–, empirical leads make us assume that a kind of “collective identification” with a whole group of people is by no means atypical. Identification with a “group” (maybe not very common) will be experienced in a comparable way to identification with an individual, be it fictional or real, and different persons will show similar emotional patterns as far as profundity and intensity of the respective experience are concerned.
Films with a clear political content and with manifest political agendas probably best serve as examples. I suspect that films such as Ådalen 31 or La battaglia di Algeri or Z go a long way to illustrate that point. The last-mentioned movie by Costa-Gavras may seem a strange bedfellow in this fragmentary listing. Most people, I guess, would argue that the strong personality of Yves Montand (playing the heroic professor: nearly an exaggeration of the ideal leader) dominates and therefore “appropriates” all...