Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Junkies, thieves, idiots and depressives - The Australian "Hero"

An interesting article and subsequent discussion, albeit a little lightweight, about whether Campbell's Hero Myth is relevant to Australian narrative, in particular film.

" "The American myth is the myth of their nation's settlement -- that an individual with strong character can undertake a daunting task, overcome seemingly unsurmountable odds, and become a great success.

"The Australian myth is also based on our nation's settlement -- that we are convicts, delinquents, struggling outsiders, persecuted by an uncaring and alien authority, trapped in a harsh envirnment we did not choose and do not understand, that all survival and validation relies on not rising above or separating from the group, failure and suffering are our lot, and the best we can hope for is to survive."

The views of Vogler and Vidler may explain why the protagonists in recent Australian movies have tended to be thieves, junkies, psychopaths, idiots, obsessives and depressives. Our film-makers think those are the heroes we need. They don't regard Crocodile Dundee and Babe as inspirations, but rather as giant exceptions -- freak successes in the land that loves to lose. That thought in itself is depressing enough to form the basis of the next Australian movie."

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