Travesty of the Sacred in Postmodernist Westerns

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The author analyzes the reasons, process and peculiarities of travesty of the sacred motives in the postmodernist western as the American national movie genre. As the country's national epic western bases upon the Puritan ethos as one of the fundamental moulding factors of American culture rooted in the mass daily consciousness, social psychology and mythology. For the revisionist western arisen after WW2 (that is Post-modern epoch) a certain reaccentuation of all its structural integrants is characteristic. Revision of the traditional western touches upon semantic, topical and mythological components as well as imagery which is becoming more and more sophisticated and polysemic. Basing on such pictures as Unforgiven (1992) by Clint Eastwood, True Grit (2010) by Ethan and Joel Cohen, The Hateful Eight (2015) by Quentin Tarantino, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007) by Andrew Dominik, the author states the process of deconstruction of the harmonious disposition in the elemental balance proper for the classical western. The deconstruction takes place on all the layers of the movies: semantic, stylistic and axiological due to collision of different textual worlds in one and the same intertextual space. Anyhow, the author concludes, that the inevitable travesty of the sacred as the basic component does not reduce axiological value of the western. Axiological diversity of the filmic construction of the contemporary western provides the viewer with freedom for forming one’s own attitude towards the film and motivates continual questioning of history.

Tsyrkun Nina A

PhD (Arts), Head of Modern Screen Art Department, Institute of Film Art (VGIK).


Author for correspondence.


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Copyright (c) 2016 Tsyrkun N.A.

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