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‘Augustine’ recalls when method and madness met

Soko plays a maid who winds up in an asylum in “Augustine.”
Soko plays a maid who winds up in an asylum in “Augustine.”Jean Claude Lother/Music Box Films

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Freud and Jung might have vied for prominence in David Cronenberg’s “A Dangerous Method,” but Jean-Martin Charcot (Vincent Lindon), who was Freud’s teacher, developed the theory of hysteria that inspired both of them.

Alice Winocour’s impressive debut feature, “Augustine,” depicts a Charcot who is showman as much as scientist, whose research and cures, which he insists are intended to free women from the stigma of a misunderstood malady, are also, unintentionally, a means of further subjugating them. Though feminist in her point of view, Winocour does not reduce her characters to caricatures, but depicts them as unwitting actors in the tragedy of a pathological society.

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