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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

(video) The Hero's Journey

Joseph Campbell, author of The Hero with a Thousand Faces, a scholar who achieved legendary status as an explicator of myths, is reverently profiled in this documentary that encompasses his long life and career. During his childhood in New York City, Campbell was taken to see "Buffalo Bill" Cody's Wild West Show at Madison Square Garden. Young Campbell was fascinated by the Native Americans in Cody's performing troupe and eventually became obsessed with mythology. As he came to realize that myths worldwide had the same underpinnings, he also discovered his life's work. This documentary mentions Campbell's affinity for the writings of James Joyce and Carl Jung, and there is ample footage of Campbell, casual in flannel shirts, giving lectures salted with references to Buddhism, Christianity, classical mythology, St. Augustine, and the rituals of plains Indians. In later life, Campbell is seen being honored at a banquet at which George Lucas rises to give him credit for helping to inspire the writing of Star Wars. After Campbell's death in 1987, heated controversies arose about his work, but this documentary is an overwhelmingly positive look at his writings, lectures, and personality. --Robert J. McNamara

56min

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