Functionality of Archetypes in Films

It is plausible to say that filmmaking is one of the most veritable tools for shaping ideas and thought patterns of people, dating back to the last century. The astronomical rise of the power of films is overwhelming, without an end in sight as the world continue to advance technologically. A typical survey of peoples values across the world identifies family, friends, work leisure activity and to a lesser and variable degree, religion and politics. Each of these areas of life are significantly shaped by archetypes, archetypes largely derived from films. For example, an individual who is a spiritual leader unconsciously fulfils archetypal roles such as father, lover, friend and mentor. These archetypes shape the life the spiritual leader leads and values. Now, individuals who are avid movie lovers are influenced by the archetypes they see in the films they watch or interested in. At some point, the individual who is a spiritual leader may watch a crime movie (the criminal archetype) or a romantic comedy (lover archetype) on TV. Each of these movies has a social biological core with strong cultural overlays on the archetypes. Like most individuals, the life of the spiritual leader is lived within archetypal patterns which form a foundation to the way the way he relates, works and spends his leisure.

Archetypes are vital because none of us invents life from the scratch. Rather, each of us adopts the archetypal patterns of life that well up from our instincts and surround us in our learned culture; the film playing an indispensable role in shaping the archetypes we adopt. More often than not, we find fulfillment in shaping the inherited archetypes. We may give our lives over to being the creator/innovator, who creates a platform for all to be able to speak clearly into our culture or being the hero who stands up to pursue a just cause fro the common good. To be human is to individualize and colour our expression of common archetypes. Even when we think aspiration-ally, most of us think of it in archetypal terms, most of it formed from the movies we watch. We could watch a business oriented film and aspire to be the best business leader around or watch a film about great sport personalities, thus, we aspire to distinguish ourselves in any field of endeavour we find ourselves, adopting their principles for success. Ironically, sometimes we rebel from time to time against cultural constraints. We find strength and purpose from the shadow archetypes of the rebel or the revolutionary.

The gift of consciousness allows us to modify our relationships with the archetypes. We can also pass on different expressions of archetypes seen from generation to generation through filmmaking. As humans archetypes are not only transmitted by DNA and instinct but also by films through the process of socialization. This socialization is carried on for example, by pressure to conform and by social organisation as expressed in filmmaking.