Action Heroes and Representations of Masculinity

Abstract

This presentation contextualizes cultural construction of hegemonic masculinity and discusses ways in which action film heroes in Muay Thai and historical films are represented. Traditionally, the quality of nakleng is desirable for Thai action heroes along with having mastery in a particular skill. In a moral realm, the idea of gratitude or kwarm-katanyu, in Thai, is prioritized and highly regarded to be an inevitable requisite for good men, which includes the action hero. Such a sense of gratitude extends to one's ideological obligation to his motherland or matuphoom, which is often thematically portrayed in Muay Thai and Thai Historical films through the struggle of the hero. Based on a reading of exemplary films, Ong Bak trilogy (2003, 2008, 2010) and The Legend of King Naresuan (Part 5): The Elephant Duel (2014), the different social backgrounds of the two heroes, their autonomy, and lack can be explained in relation to the discourse of Buddhist spirituality. In addition, the ways in which the two heroes are differently depicted is a cinematic device with the aid of which, in addition to the purpose of filmic verisimilitude, the representations are designed to cater to segmented subject/ citizen audiences. In psychoanalytic term, each hero from the two films is similarly made to acquire autonomy and lack in different realms of the symbolic order.



Author Information
Natawan Wongchalard, Chiang Mai University, Thailand

Paper Information
Conference: ACCS2016
Stream: Cultural Studies

This paper is part of the ACCS2016 Conference Proceedings (View)
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