2008 | 7(14) | 296-302
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„Rambo! Your Country Needs You!”, czyli kino w służbie państwa

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The purpose of this essay is to examine the methods implemented by American cinematography in dealing with external threats to the United States’ security. By focusing on the image of the hero and the enemy, this analysis presents their character archetypes and displays their associated qualities, both negative and positive. Attention is also given to the means by which filmmakers had stirred national values, patriotic sentiment, and the will to fight in their films’ audience. In the final years of the Cold War, the Reagan administration had played a prominent role in the creation of the “action hero”, embodied by actors such as Sylvester Stallone, Chuck Norris, and Clint Eastwood. These 80’s films make up the reaganomatography genre also known as the cinema of new patriotism. They were created along the Republican Party’s political guidelines and President Reagan’s direct initiative. These ideological guidelines confronted the attitude of defeat deriving from counter-culture while promoting the containment of Communist influence and a tough stance in U.S. policy toward the Soviet Union. In the face of a Communist threat, they showed American society that the danger is real but at the same time provided a feeling of security which emphasized that the U.S. can – and will – overcome its enemies. Understanding the historical context and message of these films is essential to fully comprehend their social implications and shared characteristics. Nowadays, the ideologically-filled factors of reaganomatography have no contemporary counterpart and the crisis in masculinity on the silver screen has undermined the hero character. Nevertheless, their continuation can be seen in television shows, primary “24” and its lead character Counter Terrorist Unit agent Jack Bauer. For what reasons has this subject been neglected by today’s cinema and what is the ideological role of television in confronting the dangers of terrorism and reassuring American society that as in the Cold War, the “Home of the Brave” will prevail once again?
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