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22 Nov 10:00am

How a dream coach helped Benedict Cumberbatch and Jane Campion put the unconscious on screen

The Guardian
Kim Gillingham explains how her work on The Power of the Dog enabled the ‘lioness of an artist’ and her ‘translucent’ star to access their inmost drives To access his dreams the surrealist artist Salvador Dalí napped while sitting on a chair, holding keys over an upturned metal plate. After he lost consciousness, the keys dropped onto the plate, jangling him awake so he could paint fresh from his unconscious. Kim Gillingham tells this story to connect her practice to the history of artistic endeavour. She is a Jungian dream coach, based in LA, who combines ideas from psychoanalysis and the method acting of the Actors Studio to, in her words: “access the incredible resource of the unconscious through dreams and through work with the body and to use that material to bring authenticity, truth and aliveness up through whatever discipline the artist is working in”. Jane Campion sought Gillingham’s services to help conjure the forces at play in her first film in 12 years, The Power of the Dog. It’s a western adapted from Thomas Savage’s 1967 novel that riffs on themes of masculinity and stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Phil Burbank, a toxic alpha cowboy whose personality is designed to hide a secret that would have made him vulnerable in the story’s setting of 1920s Montana. The Power of the Dog is streaming now on Netflix.
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