The ‘hero archetype’ in the neo-mythological context of contemporary screen culture

СТРОЕВА Олеся Витальевна

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The essay examines the image of the hero in the contemporary neo-mythological field of mass screen culture. The author identifies the main features of the ‘hero archetype’ and the core cultural meanings forming this concept and analyzes images of the neo-mythological heroes of our time, taking examples of mass cinema and authorial cinema and revealing differences between these two categories. According to the author, mass culture creates the hero model according to the principle of ‘bricolage’, remaining within the framework of the Christian eschatological paradigm and synthesizing it with scientific and technical progress or other elements but not reproducing the structure of the archaic myth. When the stereotype of “happy ending” replaces tragedy, it completely changes the true archetype of the hero more characteristic of art-house or authorial cinema. Examining the films of Jim Jarmusch and Alejandro González Iñárritu, the author analyzes the method of deconstruction in authorial cinema, a cinema which seeks to reveal the meanings of the archaic hero archetype. If mass cinema acts within the simulacrum system without transcending its limits — endlessly repeating the same models and often using only superficial formal properties — authorial cinema tries to explode the structure in such a way as to widen the boundaries of the senses or to discover them under the layers of simulacra. Thus, screen culture has the characteristics of a neo-mythology, forming the neo-myth and developing its elements and structures, producing a stream of neo-mythological images in the media landscape. The conglomerate of various structural elements borrowed from different traditions fully reflects the postmodern situation that turns symbols and archetypes into a set of simulacra. The era of postmodernism is a stage in the development of culture characterized by the problem of the impossibility of creating anything new. Postmodernism is a creative crisis which leads to excessive visuality and, paradoxically, to visuality’s death.

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Stroeva Olesya V.

PhD in Philosophy, Associate Professor, Full Professor at the Department of Theory and History of Culture

Institute of Cinema and Television

Author for correspondence.


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