The Infernal Return: The Recurrence of the Primordial in Films of the Reaction Years, 1977-1983

Greenwood Publishing Group
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George Lukas and other leading filmmakers acknowledge their indebtedness to mythographic scholarship on archetypes. In his new study, author Rodney Farnsworth identifies a pattern of filmmakers' obsessions with archetypical rituals centered on sacrifice and the family in films made between 1977 and 1983, a period of political upheaval on both sides of the Atlantic. Combining a strong historical reading of the films in a sociopolitical context and utilizing Queer Theory as a framework for his arguments, Farnsworth offers a close examination of key films of the period, including works by Stanley Kubrick, Robert Altman, and Francis Ford Coppola, and provides a fascinating and timely glimpse of an important political and cinematic time.

Marking the end of a more liberal era, the late seventies and early eighties witnessed the growth of reactionary conservative movements such as the New Religious Political Right. These were the years that gave birth to movies--from esoteric art-house pictures to blockbusters such as Star Wars--that seemed in many cases to be adaptations of primordial mythology, subverting liberal-to-moderate views into reactionary depictions of family life. Although filmmakers had turned to these myths to shape their works, Farnsworth observes, the unstable, volatile nature of the archetypes deconstructed their best social intentions into something rich, strange, and deadly. This thought-provoking work will be of interest to students of social history as well as film studies.

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About the author

RODNEY FARNSWORTH is Associate Professor of English at Indiana-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, where he teaches classes in film, literature, humanities, fine arts, and the history of rhetoric. He has published extensively in journals including Film Quarterly, Literature/Film Quarterly, Musical Quarterly, and Rhetoric Review.

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Additional Information

Greenwood Publishing Group
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Published on
Dec 31, 2002
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Language Arts & Disciplines / Communication Studies
Performing Arts / Film / General
Social Science / Popular Culture
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Content Protection
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Eligible for Family Library

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