A FATHER FIGURE IN THE FILMS BY CLINT EASTWOOD
A character of a father performs double function in the Euro-American culture. On the one hand, he has the attributes of power. He is a tyrant and a great supervisor and has a right to punish. Such image results directly from the symbolic representation of God the Father. On the other, a character of a father, owing to the appeal to New Testament, appears as a protector capable to forgive and have mercy. As a result, a father figure is characterized by the kind of duality. This doubleness is emphasized by the exponents of psychoanalysis from Sigmund Freud to Melanie Klein and Jacques Lacan. Simplifying, we can say that ― in the opinion of the psychoanalysts ― a child must love and hate his/her father at the same time, as he is the perfect person worthy of love as well as the subject reducing the impact of impulses and the relationship between a child and a mother. This contradiction is permanently inherent in human life. So a father figure acts as an ideal and, at the same time, as an avenging subject and a representative of law, culture, and language. In the films by Clint Eastwood a father figure acts first of all as a symbol of protection, preservation, safety and good advice, but also as an example which allows “a child” to built a new identity. “Father,” however, is rarely explicitly an ideal character; he is often “the prodigal father,” who admits his “fatherhood” as compensation, redemption of the former guilts. In my paper I analyze the father figures in three films by Clint Eastwood: A Perfect World (1993), Million Dollar Baby (2004), and Gran Torino (2008). I focus my attention on the main characters of those works: Robert “Butch” Haynes (Kevin Costner), Frankie Dunn (Eastwood), and Walt Kowalski (Eastwood).