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The Hero of my tale-whom I love with all the power of my soul, whom I have tried to portray in all his beauty, who has been, is, and will be beautiful-is truth.

Leo Tolstoy 

I fall asleep a lot, and I like to consider my sleeping pattern normal, although when it happens during a film, I question whether I  am in fact tired or ultimately bored.  I watch films to learn, be challenged, swept through the tide that is so often called life without having to go through it myself.  All the time though I am watching the hero or heroine, who is going to teach me a thing or two, show me how its done, or pose in the moment, expressing the truth.

Through time, stories will dictate a version of that truth and it will be the hero that will be at the forefront of this.  Fourteen years ago I came across Joseph Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces, and more recently Christopher Vogel's summary of that.  Filmmakers around the world have embraced the concept and admittedly when the films do follow this structure I find I'm not bored, or fall asleep.  I join the hero or heroine through his or her journey and I find by the end of it I have vouched for them, learnt something and finally applauded.

In writing stories or films the hero must undergo a number of steps, and it will be worth reading up on Vogel's writing to get a better understanding of this.  At the onset the hero is in an ordinary world, sympathetically shown to the audience, where he then gets called to the adventure.  He refuses to get involved, for there could be danger, except that he meets a mentor who is a source of wisdom for him.  It is at this point that the hero enters the new region where the conditions are unfamiliar, where he will be tested and sort out his allegiances.  Together they will organise themselves for the new challenges ahead, confronting the biggest ordeal, possibly death, or greatest fears, but out of this a new life will begin. He has possession of this, it is his reward, but as with all rewards, it is just human nature that there is fear the reward may be lost.  The hero will complete his journey, try to bring his reward home, be chased, face fear or death again at the threshold, only to complete this journey with the reward, treasure or thought process that can transform him or the world.  Task accomplished and for the audience satisfaction, relief, lesson learnt.  The hero or heroine has been around us since civilisation began.  Great stories have revolved around them.  As Tolstoy says, the hero is 'truth', and for me it means I don't fall asleep.

Stella Dimadis 2013


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