It is not surprising to see many similarities in how the same phenomenon in is in effect both in the mirror stage effect and cinema screen, turning the screen into a mirror.
“Mirror stage” is a crucial early component of Lacan’s critical interpretations of Sigmund Freuds work. Lacan proposed by studying animal psychology and physiology that human infants go through a stage in their life where the external image of the body (usually reflected through a mirror) creates a psychic response giving rise to mental perception of self. The infant starts to identify with this image as it serves as a gestalt of an infant’s perceptions of self. However, the infant cannot relate the image in the mirror with the physical vulnerability he faces. Therefore this image becomes an ideal of self. Lacan goes on to say that the person strives throughout his or her life to achieve this ideal self.
Louis Althusser relates this theory of the mirror stage with the cinematic experience. Althusser considers the ideological interpellation of the subject where individuals misrecognize themselves with the socially given identity, and then they start to see themselves in this form. Todd McGowan talks about Althussers theory in his book The Real Gaze: Film Theory after Lacan (2012). According to McGowan Althusser was a critical link between Lacan’s theory of mirror states and cinematic experience for Althusser focused on the social dimension of misrecognitions connected to the mirror stage (McGowan 2). Althusser gave the much-needed political spin to Lacans theory.
This is how the film theorists started to think about the cinematic experience from a psychoanalytical perspective. Jean-Louis Baudry, Jean-Louis Comolli and Christian Metz where those film theorists that are associated with the Journal Screen (McGowan 2). The British film theorist like Peter Wollen, Colin MacCabe, Stephen Heath and Laura Mulvey were among the first theorists that brought