There’s a trail of blood and tears across the path of the Clint Eastwood persona. The career of the American movie star/director has been shaped by violence, since his days as a TV star in Rawhide (1959-1965) until his most recent directorial effort, The 15:17 to Paris (2018). Whether directing or directed, the sound of swinging saloon doors and jingling boot spores, more often than not precede gunshots, screams, bodies dropping, cries for help or cries for mourning.
I started exploring the relationship of Clint Eastwood with violence in his 1992 masterpiece Unforgiven. It culminated in a video essay that found merit in his depiction of the atrocities on screen, but casted doubts on the its effectiveness. The protagonist, William Munny (Clint Eastwood), is haunted by the evil past he downplays. In a feverish dream, Munny sees the faces of his death wife, as well as his fallen victims, with worms where eye balls should be. The past haunts Munny, but does it haunt the persona Eastwood developed with each on-screen death, torture and the occasional rape scene?
The goal of this video essay was to bring to life the feverish dream the Eastwood hero might have looking back on his past, highlighting different types of the violent action he has committed on screen.
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