In my project of familiarizing myself with various aspects of western culture, I watched The Good, The Bad and The Ugly last night. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and found it well made and quirky in fascinating ways.
In a way, the title accurately reflects the movie itself, it is good, bad and ugly all at the same time. Engaging and fascinating, quirky and campy, dirty and rough.
I often work with projections while watching movies, both noticing which projections the movie is aimed at triggering, and what is triggered in me. In this one, I didn’t find very much of it.
In American movies, including those set in the old west, there is often the split of heroes and villains and it is quite clear who are set up as projection objects for what (it can change throughout the movie, but that is also intended).
But in this movie, I didn’t find much of this split. There were none who were terribly sympathetic, and none who didn’t have a certain charm either. They were just human beings, although pretty brutal ones and obviously operating from the egocentric levels of development. In particular the red Spiral Dynamics level.
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly is shot by an Italian director in the South of Spain – and, to me, seems to reflect more of an European approach to movies.
It seems that among European and other non-US movies, there is often an emphasis on our shared and common humanity. We are all in the same boat. We all have any qualities and potentials in us. We can all end up doing any action, depending on the circumstances. The movies set the stage for more of an empathy with any and all of the main characters, independent of their roles or behaviors.
And in the Hollywood movies, there is often a split into heroes and villains, allowing for free play of blind projections and anything that comes with it, such as unquestioning hero-worship and blind dehumanization of the “others”.
This is of course an over-generalization, but it seems that the tendency is there.
The US currently acts as a global empire and is desperately trying to maintain that role, and it seems that these types of US movies support that. It supports the “heroics” of invading and occupying other countries, and the mass-scale violence aimed at the “other” in the process. It supports the heroics of spreading US economic, military and cultural dominance, and the ignorance and indifference to those “others” who suffer in the process.