Interrogating (neo)colonialism in the contemporary western: Alejandro González Iñárritu’s The revenant (2015)

Tierney, Dolores (2021) Interrogating (neo)colonialism in the contemporary western: Alejandro González Iñárritu’s The revenant (2015). Studies in Spanish and Latin American Cinemas, 18 (1). pp. 89-104. ISSN 2050-4837

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Abstract

This article analyses Alejandro González Iñárritu’s The Revenant (2015) as a contemporary western, exploring how it interrogates the overt coloniality and Anglocentrism associated with the western genre and the source story of nineteenth-century fur trapper Hugh Glass on which the film is based. Through narrative and textual analysis, the article suggests that the addition of active indigenous characters into Glass’ story, as well as the film’s focus on the genocidal violence inflicted on native peoples and self-conscious realist strategies, challenge the inherent colonialism of the western. It also points out, however, that the scope of these indigenous narratives is limited and made secondary to the narrative of the White fur trapper and how The Revenant falls back on some of the stereotypical representational norms of the generic western. The article argues that this duality, where the film both challenges and reifies the colonialist norms of the western, is a result of the film’s interstitial position in-between the industrial and genre norms of contemporary Hollywood filmmaking and Iñárritu’s specific auteurist, postcolonial and ideological vision.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: The Revenant, the western, colonialism, postcolonialism, Hollywood, native peoples
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Film and Music > Media and Film
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 08 Apr 2021 12:48
Last Modified: 08 Apr 2021 14:00
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/98291

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