Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Media Practice and Education


Taylor & Francis


School of Arts and Humanities




Gough-Brady, C. (2024). The heroic character, the neo-liberal productive citizen, and the feminist filmmaker. Media Practice and Education. Advance online publication.


I recut an observational documentary about a woman called Bekti into a more conventional hero’s journey for a broadcaster. The hero’s journey narrative requires large obstacles to be overcome by the hero in their search for their ego. In this documentary the obstacle is connecting experimental science with communities with the aim to reduce dengue fever, and the hero’s ‘ego’ is to be an effective communicator. Using the hero’s journey style of narrative reduced the importance of the domestic aspects of Bekti’s life because these scenes did not contribute to overcoming obstacles or finding ego. To explore these changes use feminist critique of the influence of the hero’s journey on narrative structure and character creation. Alongside this, I use a decolonising lens to challenge the universality of the monomyth. I then bring into this debate work on value in the economy to explore how the hero’s journey used in the recut documentary corresponds to neoliberal values. This critique adds to the current debates around heroic characters and story structures in non-fiction films via rethinking story in practice.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.