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Marek Paryz (University of Warsaw), “Unwanted Salvation: The Use of the Savior Formula in Andreas Prochaska’s The Dark Valley (2014)”


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Marek Paryz (University of Warsaw), “Unwanted Salvation: The Use of the Savior Formula in Andreas Prochaska’s The Dark Valley (2014)”

The Austrian film The Dark Valley (dir. Andreas Prochaska, 2014) provides a unique attestation to the applicability of the convention of the Western for problematizing context-specific social and cultural issues. The film features an American man named Greider who arrives at a godforsaken Austrian village located in the mountains. As it turns out later, he comes there to avenge the father who had been killed before his birth. The village community is terrorized by the Brenner family, the descendants of the village’s founders. The Brenner patriarch and his sons follow very special rules regarding nuptial ceremonies: on the wedding night, every bride, instead of consummating the marriage with her husband, comes off with the Brenner clan. They execute their privilege with utmost relentlessness and allow no exceptions. On one such occasion, Greider stands up against the Brenners and successfully defends a newly married couple. This confrontation will eventually culminate in a bloody shootout. This paper discusses the ways in which The Dark Valley employs narrative scripts of the Western genre so as to showcase a particular kind of cultural experience. The film combines a revenge plot with a savior formula, foregrounding the ways in which the revenger’s intervention helps to eliminate the source of oppression and restore a moral order within the oppressed community. An anticipated positive change of the community’s life redeems the revenger’s egoistical motivation. However, in The Dark Valley the narratives of revenge and salvation ultimately diverge because the villagers, on the whole, are far from being grateful for the help offered by Greider. They are all, in one sense or another, former victims who have failed to prevent the terror sanctioned by the local tradition, and their passiveness is virtually tantamount to complicity. The logic of the savior formula thus becomes undone, undermining the moral sanction of revenge. Importantly, Greider’s interventionist action expresses not only an personal craving, but also a sense of cultural superiority, even if the protagonist does not manifest this in any discernible way. Being an American, Greider embodies the far-reaching forces of globalization and technological advancement, as contrasted with a local, self-contained culture; and this difference has been most symbolically reflected by the respective weapons used by Greider and his opponents (the repeating rifle vs. the breechloading rifle).

 


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    Date de réalisation : 16 Novembre 2018
    Lieu de réalisation : Université Paul Valéry Montpellier 3 Site Saint Charles
    Durée du programme : 21 min
    Classification Dewey : Histoire générale de l'Amérique du Nord, Cinéma - Histoire, Films (analyses et critiques des films), Aspects particuliers des films (adaptations cinématographiques, genres de film...)
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    Catégorie : Conférences
    Niveau : Tous publics / hors niveau, niveau Licence (LMD), niveau Master (LMD), niveau Doctorat (LMD), Recherche, Concours (Agrégation, CAPES...)
    Disciplines : Civilisation anglaise et américaine
    Collections : Transnationalism and Imperialism: New Perspectives on the Western
    ficheLom : Voir la fiche LOM
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    Langue : Anglais
    Mots-clés : impérialisme, transnationalisme, histoire culturelle, Cinéma, études cinématographiques et vidéo, Histoire des États-Unis
    Conditions d’utilisation / Copyright : Tous droits réservés
 

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