A central convention of Greek mythological narratives is katabasis, the hero’s journey to the underworld or land of the dead – and it’s a theme modern directors return to again and again.
That’s what we’re exploring today on our first episode of Essays On Air, a new podcast from The Conversation. It’s the audio version of our Friday essays, where we bring you the best and most beautiful writing from Australian researchers.
In this episode, Paul Salmond, Honorary Associate in Classics and Ancient History at La Trobe University, reads his essay Journeys to the underworld – Greek myth, film and American anxiety.
Here, he explains how films like Chinatown, The Silence of the Lambs and Apocalypse Now evoke narratives played out in Homer’s Iliad, the story of Theseus and the minotaur and other classic Greek tales.
Join us as we read to you here at Essays On Air, a new podcast from The Conversation.
Find us and subscribe in Apple Podcasts, in Pocket Casts or wherever you get your podcasts.
Additional music and audio
Cinematic Music - Eerie - David Szesztay
Above Us - David Szestzay
Looking Back - David Szesztay
Chinatown - My sister, my daughter
Chinatown - Evelyn’s last stand
The Searchers - John Wayne’s Brutal Moment
Apocalypse Now - Because it’s judgement that defeats us
Fool Boy Media - 80s vibe McMartin Preschool: Anatomy of a Panic | Retro Report - The New York Times
The Sopranos - Best Moments and Quotes (season 2)
Trump: Russia investigation is a witch hunt - CNN
Hell or High Water - I’ve been poor my whole life
Sicario - Official Trailer
Wind River - Official US Trailer
Sicario - A Land of Wolves
Wind River - Cory’s Daughter
Captain America: Civil War - Airport Battle Scene
Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Best Buffy Moments
Hero of the Winds - Ominous Ambience
Valentin Sosnitskiy - Acoustic Guitar Country
This episode was edited by Sarah Matthews, and Paul Salmond’s reading was recorded by Eliza Berlage.