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ARTEM N. ZORIN
Saratov State University
WESTWORLD: FROM EVOLUTION TO REVOLUTION OF THE WESTERN
Abstract. Westworld television series was created in the second half of the 2010s by Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan. It has become an important link in the chain of actualizing the western as a genre in its variations against the background of the current social and cultural content. Initially a remake of the 1973 film of the same name directed by Michael Crichton, the series soon evolved: its second season has become a form of comprehension for both the basis of the western poetics in its relation to science fiction and the burning issues of the 21st century. “The rise of the machines” is interpreted here as a revolt against God, as overcoming the total scenarios of normative poetics and also as a visualization of Donna Haraway’s cyberfeminism ideas. The meta-western part of the Westworld plot unfolds from the 1970s and 1980s to the “revolutionary” aesthetics of the 60s and reveals its ambition to play around with the revisionist scripts of the spaghetti western, especially its most radical part — the zapata western. Trying on their revolutionary logic, the characters and creators of the series try to find their way out of the maze of unsolvable questions about the oncoming future and formulate new ethical dominants for a contemporary viewer. Such a logic supposes existence not in the world of a classical western — with the final triumph of justice, but in the world of a total revisionism of the late 1960s western. It is manifested in the integral poetics of the second season. Androids are creatures with a new worldview and perception of a different world order. They travel through different areas and levels of the historical park, collect key moments of history and stylistic features of a western as the central epic genre of cinema aesthetics. The first two seasons of the Westworld are as much an anthem to the cinema, the main art of the 20th century, as Quentin Tarantino’s westerns created at the same time. They demonstrate that in the world of contemporary values the cinema epic is the starting point of history, the beginning and the source of a person’s epic worldview. As a result, the western appears in the series as a key epic form underlying the mythological mind of a contemporary viewer. The meta-western nature also reflects the direction towards the total westernization of cinema aesthetics and, at the same time, an attempt to understand the reasons which led this approach to the crisis, projected onto the social contradictions of our time. The ironic laws of the spaghetti western, using the elements of Christianization and surrealism in the interpretation of the genre’s canonical schemes, make it possible to expand the range of the tasks set by the authors far beyond the borders of one-nation specifics.
Keywords: Westworld, western, spaghetti western, zapata western, revolutionary film, sci-fi movie