”Leaving for Helsinki.” Mythic and Ideological Journey to Masculinity in a Finnish Television Film Simpauttaja

1/2008

Sanna Karkulehto

The article studies critically a myth of the hero’s journey or a quest applied in a Finnish television film Simpauttaja (1975), based on a novel of Heikki Turunen (1973), directed by Veikko Kerttula, and discusses the aims with which the myth becomes a vehicle processing cultural meanings of masculinities, knowledge production, and power.

The critical analysis of the mythic hero’s journey, imitated by the protagonist of Simpauttaja, and the construction of his identity begins with an idea according which men are not born but made in culture; cultural gender characteristics are picked up, produced and represented under the predominant norms and ideals.

The mythic structure of Simpauttaja calls the spectator into an ideological viewer position and the spectator is supposed to buy the idea of the protagonist as a true archetypal hero, who rescues the rural community with his journey and, who is capable of maintaining the masculinistic values of the community.

In the heart of the communal values there is an idea of an omnipotent and firm masculinity as a steady base of society which is not shattered even in the threshold of a great societal turn. The masculine hegemony of the countryside turns out to be, however, threatened in Simpauttaja. The existence and the force of the countryside patriarchy are secured merely in the mythic and ideological closure of the film, and even in the film it happens only temporarily.