Examination of film depictions of the cultural role of Jewish sex counselors reveals ways ancient myths of Jewish conspiracy are maintained, or critiqued, in popular culture. Comparing David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method (UK, Germany, 2011) and Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac (Denmark, Germany, 2013) elucidates the historical difference, crucial to sexual social justice movements, between imagining Jewish community and imagining Jewish conspiracy. In both films paternalistic characters who identify as secular Jews shape the film’s narrative through sessions in which they question the perverse protagonist. Each of the two films presents us with a concept of Jewish identity that is developed through these interactions. This is a question not of negative or positive portrayal of Jewish characters but of how the films portray a worldwide community of Jews, the community that confers an identity on each individual Jew. Thus the two films serve as a case study of possibilities for representation of Jews in cinematic narratives about sexual perversity.
"Talking Cures?: Jews and Sex Therapy in Nymphomaniac and A Dangerous Method,"
Jewish Film & New Media: Vol. 5
, Article 13.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/jewishfilm/vol5/iss1/13