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By Teresa Abreu -

Going to Cannes to the EPF Conference creates a paradoxical feeling. Psychoanalytic conferences and the pre-published articles on this year’s theme of illusion, makes me thing of seriousness, illusion, delusion, grandiosity, fraught narcissisism, child abuse, climate changes and abuse of resources, migrants’ despair, mourning of illusion, of body, old age, enactments. And then Cannes, with its film festival running from 1946, all the glamour and sort of out of this world, illusory scenario portrayed on the velvets and red carpet on the TV screen. Something didn’t quite jell.

The venue Le Palais de Festival, turns out to be a warm welcoming place for the initial cocktail party, not so much for the meager repast, but mostly for the pleasure, the absolute joy of rekindling relationships in this still sore after pandemic relational cravenness and ongoing war just outside our door in a violently shaken earth. We hear of the pre-conference working parties and agree they are one of the best parts of these events where you dive deep and connect with others for two days.

The initial visual noise of the city subsides in the early morning as we grab a caffe and have a delicious pastry on the way to the opening ceremony. The auditorium is impeccable, you can imagine remainings of a ceremony you glanced at on TV, a different crowd now, curiosity, expectation is peaked as the president of EPF throws the motto on to the audience Illusions: friend or foe and is picked up by Michael Günter and Angela Joyce’s discussion – the maltreated disillusioned child comes into play in the process of analytical reparation through disillusionment. Again, the paradoxical feeling…

From Cannes, 2023, 36th Annual Conference of the European Psychoanalytical Federation

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