In the United States, the symbolist sublime landscape was taken to great use in the genre of western movies. We all know the classic, very wide establishing shot, a ‘God’s Eye View’, revealing the whole prairie landscape from the nearest rock, all the way into the sun.
Example of typical God’s Eye View.
The American Film Institute has described western films like this:
“a genre of films set in the American West that embodies the spirit, the struggle and the demise of the new frontier. Brimming with subtext and mythology, westerns offer iconic images of a time gone by and perhaps a time that never was. A man of action with an unspoken code of honor, the western hero faces gun-toting opponents, hostile natives, lawless towns, the harsh forces of nature, and the encroachment of civilization. But the westerner keeps going, drawn to the freedom of the open plains and the promise of a new life.”
Sublime and mystical
The sublime is a strong element also in the cult movie Bagdad Café from 1987, with its surreal and mystical heavenly phenomenon of the two suns and a sublime mood throughout the movie.
Bagdad Café, 1987
Top 10 western movies
- The Searchers (1956)
- High Noon (1952)
- Shane (1953)
- Unforgiven (1992)
- Red River (1948)
- The Wild Bunch (1969)
- Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
- McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
- Stagecoach (1939)
- Cat Ballou (1965)