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Abstract

This article examines two closely connected dimensions of Francis Leclerc’s 2004 film, Looking for Alexander: a psychoanalytical dimension and a political one. Freud’s theories on the murder of the primal violent father in his essay Totem and Taboo provide the framework for a psychoanalytical interpretation of the protagonist’s fate: Alexandre Tourneur, a veterinarian struck by amnesia, embarks on a quest for his lost identity. Facilitated by the totemic figure of the deer, the act of remembering gradually leads to a conscious awakening to the events of an abusive childhood and the crime of patricide he committed as a boy during a hunting trip. The difficulty of achieving autonomy and self-determination finally points to the film’s political subtext, namely Québec’s failed attempts at independence and the ensuing loss of the dream of a Nation-State. The film’s conclusion however calls for reconciliation with First Nations and immigrant cultures within a post-referendum Québec.

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