The essay traces conceptual connections between key aspects of Kant’s transcendental philosophy, especially aesthetic reflection, and basic psychoanalytic concepts that have figured prominently in the European film theory of the 1970s and 1980s. In addition, the essay proposes a reevaluation of the phallic economy of signification in placental-umbilical terms. Introducing the ephemeral materno-foetal organ of the placenta into psychoanalytic film theory as the biological prototype of the fetish, phallus, dream screen, virtual or lost maternal object and object of desire (objet petit a) promises to resolve the impasse reached by feminist theories keyed to Freud’s and Lacan’s *patriarchal* phallic economy. The placenta is seen here as having the same function as Kant’s transcendental subject — that of a focus imaginarius, a virtual memory organ furnishing the idea of both plenitude and lack, or castration, and making possible symbolic signification as synthetic a priori.
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