Superhero’s Mythic Journey reading: Stucky
Culmination of the great mythic heroes of the past.
- Heros journey, a recurring cycle of events in mythology
- Movie portrays a complex calling to the superheo’s role, consisting of three
distinct calls and journeys.
- Each of the stages includes the death of someone close to him
Three stages has:
- The death of someone close to him
- Different symbols of his own death and resurrection
- Different experiences of atonement with a father figure. Atonement here is
reconciliation in a relationship, a symbolic life rising from death. Where
there has been separation and disconnection (death of a relationship), there
is a rejoining, rekindling and rebirth (resurrection of that relationship)
- First call: Go and Live with Earth’s People
- Second call: Retreat from Earth’s people
- Third Call: Save Earth’s People
- Ultimate Boon: Flying above the globe and smiling, journey has come to a full
- Elixir: ( Underlying Principle) We, as the audience of this film, do not have
super powers, but we can be on the "same team.” We cannot emulate
Superman's physical strength and speed, but we can emulate his moral
strength and integrity. We are all called to a journey of doing good and
courageously fighting for truth and justice even in the face of adversity and
- Compares the mythic Odysseus and the Christian gospel’s St.Paul with a look
also at the Christ figure in an examination of the cinematic use of the hero
and anti-hero archetypes and their meanings
- Odysseus was a warrior who left his home place and family to wage war, but
after the battle he was delayed and beset by many life- threatening ordeals
and trials. These journeys shaped and defined his character.
- According to the Christ example, a man should do no harm to any other man,
which means actively denying a fundamentally flawed human nature. Chirst’s
example lies in direct contrast to St Paul. It is Paul’s inactivity or lack of
action in achieving redemption that we see in most American cinematic
heroas/anti heroes. They are men and women of violence of revenge and
reparation. But they are brought to a kind of holy aggression by
circumstances beyond their control. But with Odysseus, their redemption is
marked by the blood of their enemies.
- Contrast: Paul is made into something greater, while Odysseus remains the
ruthless warrior. Odysseus returns disguise to violently punish his foes,
while paul has become a benevolent (Well hearted) force, advocating peace among his former enemies. The result is that odysseus has gained nothing
from his journeys but pain and a desire to draw blood from his and his wife’s
tormentors. Paul however, is a changed man bent upon righting his past sins
through forgiveness and a peaceful embrace of a new benevolent calling.
Critical Viewing: Is the means of watching for analysis, purposefully viewing for the
elements as a whole and as discrete parts, in order to extract the surface and subtle
meanings/materials. – Achieved through attention to detail and knowledgeable
What is “Religion”:
Popular: THINGS RELATED TO CHURCHES/DIVINE BEINGS
Rudolf Otto: Describes our encounter with the “holy,” which fascinates and terrifies
Emile Durkheim: Norms society has enshrined
Mircea Eliade: What we define as sacred/profane
Paul Tillich: What our “Ultimate concern” is
Karl Marx: A byproduct of power relations, which acts as the “opiate of the masses”
Sigmund Freud: A byproduct of our own neurosis; “illusion’, which resolves desire
for an omnipotent father.
- A religion is a system of symbols which acts to establish powerful, pervasive,
and long lasting moods and motivations in men by formulating conceptions
of a general order of existence and clothing these conceptions with such an
aura of factuality that the moods and motivations seem uniquely realistic.
Myth: A narrative, often scared or magical origin that becomes traditional over
time Ex: paradigms, rituals, ideology in narrative form
Folkore: The Imaginative inheritance of people including myths, legends,
materials, jokes etc of a community
Media: Part of folklore; film is part of paradigmatic imagination
THE HERO: Person (originally of supernatural birth but not always) who faces
tremendous adversity and danger, survives many trials, and completes a
challenging quest for the good of the community or all of humanity.
Go through the hero’s jouney:
- Crossing/ Quest
- ( Death and resurrection )
- Trials/ transformation
- See example of batman *
: Dodd whale rider :
- Discusses how whale rider represents a mythic film that includes within it
references to an ancient sacred story and itself a contemporary
recapitulation of it. Also, in distinction to the book, the film drives a wedge between the myth’s original sacred function to provide meaning to the world
for the native people and its extended intention to empower women,
favoring the latter at the former’s expense.
Slides: Not useful
Week 3: Reinhartz : Scripture on the Silver screen *
- Reinhartz has Two assumptions
-1) Discusses that movies both reflect and also shape our views, norms and
- 2) The majority of the movie-going audience has little direct knowledge of, or
contact with, the bible, and thus has no prior experiences against which to test
its cinematic utilization.
Bible as Artifact:
- Gives an example of two movies. Coneheads and The Apostle. Compares both
movies and shows how in Coneheads, the aliens laugh at the bible while in the
Apostle the bible stops a bulldozer from destroying a church. The Apstole shows
how the book as well its contents have the power to transform and to save.
- Another example that is given is Shawshank Redemption, the film shows how
the bible is important to Andy’s life who has escaped from prison by tricking the
warden and his staff. Earlier in the film we see the warden write “ Salvation lies
within” on Andy’s bible. When Andy had escaped, the warden hears police sirens
the next day and goes to check his safe only to find Andy’s bible inside which had
a cutout rock hammer (tool Andy used to dig out of his cell). We see that
salvation had truly lied within the very bible the warden had given Andy.
Bible as Text:
- Shows how Hollywood movies contain Bible- related dialogue
- Ex: In Sling Blade and Dead Man Walking
- In Dead Man Walking, A nun has taken the role in being a spiritual advisor to
a convicted felon who is on death row. A guard asks “ you know how the
bible says an eye for an eye?” the nun responds saying “"The Bible also calls
for death as punishment for adultery, prostitution, homosexuality, profaning
the Sabbath, trespassing upon sacred ground, and contempt of parents.". The
guard accepts his defeat after this.
Bible Narrative structure:
- Discusses the role of the biblical narrative in the plot structure of Hollywood
- Ex: Shawshank Redemption: Andy is an innocent man who is convicted of
murdering his wife and is sent to Shawshank Prison. After Andy escapes
through a sewer filled with shit and more shit, he strips off his shirt and
stretches out his arms while gazing upwards to the accommodation of a
rainstorm and beautiful soundtrack. After his escape, Andy’s friends
reminisce about him much like Jesus’ disciples. Andy’s best buddy (most
faithful disciple) Red follows his footsteps after he is released. In the final
scene where Red strides across the sandy shores of the Pacific to meet Andy
is similar to the images (Water, boats, white clothing) to Jesus and his
disciples at the Sea of Galilee.
Flesher: Being true to the text: - Explains the rules of Targum
- Discusses how movies uses this rule to alter the story from the book while
maintaining its aura of faithfulness to the book.
- Rules of Targum (Primary)
- Rule 1: When targums translate or present the original text, they do so
- Rule 2: When targums add material, they integrate it smoothly with the
translation. These additions range in size from a word or two, to phrases or
sentences, to entire paragraphs
- Rule 3: A word may be substituted for one in the original, without disturbing
the surrounding translation.
- Rule 4: Occasionally some of the original may be deleted or left out. The
translation smoothly adapts to this loss
- Rule 5: A large addition may be placed at beginning or end of story to ensure
that the new meaning is clear.
- Rule 6: An addition may be drawn from or imitate related material
elsewhere in the work.
Approaches to Religion and Film:
- Film using Religion
-Ex: The hero; The propher; The savious
- Ex: Myths, Scriptures
- Ex: Salvation, Redemption, Forgivenes, Hope
- Ex: The significant Prop, The sight Gag
Narratives of Religion and Film:
-Narratives: Stories or accounts in which events are presented in an organized
- Sacred Narratives: Stories/accounts that present honoured events in an
organized fashion for religious use
Ancient Egyptian Religion on the Silver Screen: Modern Anxieties about Race,
Ethnicity, and Religion: (Schroeder)
-Examines depiction of religion, race and ethnicity in four films including (Prince of
Egypt, The ten commandments, Stargate, The mummy)
- Each film uses ancient Egyptian religion as a foil to dramatize American concerns
about race and ethnicity. The foil is the mysterious and often false religiosity of an
often Orientalized religious and ethnic “other.” - Relates to present time- through the disjuncture between religion vs science,
democracy over tyranny, or the continuing struggles of Jews to maintain their
religion and culture in the face of an often-hostile dominant culture (Islam).
- EX: (The Mummy) – Throughout the film, East and West are compared through
elements of religion and race. Egypt represents a place of dark mystery and
superstition in contrast to the West which represents a clarity of science and logic.
Dr.Muller who is referred to as a master of the occult plays as the foil to the
skeptical and scientific Joseph Whemple (West). They discover a mummy and a
scroll, but Muller warns Joseph not to investigate further saying “ The gods of Egypt
still live in these hills. The ancient spells are weaker but still potent, put it back
where you found it….” . Whemple replies saying “ In the interest of science, even if I
believed in th