The Return of the Epic
The introduction offers an overview of the return of the epic. It begins by questioning whether Gladiator marks a return of the epic, examining the conditions which surrounded the film’s return, both economic and contextual. Next, the essay moves on to offer a provisional, working definition of what we mean by the epic film, and critiques general assumptions which often classify epic films as one single genre. Arguing that the epic film is a cyclical phenomenon, the chapter then looks at the new eipc film’s relationship with earlier cycles, questioning both why they fell out of favour in the 1960s, and why have returned in the 21st century.
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