Cinemyth Film Series: Dead Man and the Western Dream - Atlas Obscura

Los Angeles, California

Cinemyth Film Series: Dead Man and the Western Dream

Venture into the not so black-and-white myths of Jim Jarmusch’s “Psychedelic Western”.

Join Atlas Obscura field agent and mythologist PhD Devon Deimler for this inaugural event in the Cinemyth Film Series at the Philosophical Research Society. Myth is genre and genre will be our guide—screenings are curated into 3-part series according to a specific sub-genre. The first to get the de-mythologizing treatment (and often a dose of the psychedelic) is Revisionist Westerns, and the first film in this series is Jim Jarmusch’s Dead Man.

Rather than affirming our notions of heroes and heroines, the forces of good and evil, and the possibility of meaning, Dead Man questions these notions through parody, humor, and historiography. This is a postmodern Western where stories fly like bullets and people drop like flies. And of course it’s got a fistful of rich performances by the likes of Johnny Depp, Iggy Pop, and Crispin Glover, plus a soundtrack by Neil Young.

Our guest speaker for the evening will be PRS President and contemporary literature and religious studies PhD Greg Salyer. You’ll enjoy a complimentary bag of popcorn (and, if you choose, your own BYOB libation) while viewing Dead Man in the PRS auditorium. After a brief intermission, we’ll be led through an exploration of the film’s mythic motifs and its commentary on America’s treatment of the sacred over the last two centuries. We’ll end the evening with some friendly open discussion and then be on our way!


The Cinemyth Film Series is a monthly screening event exploring the role of myth in independent and cult cinema, as well as less-exposed mythic aspects of popular films. We’ll see how each film engages ancient or prevailing cultural mythologies and even creates new myths in its own right. Each screening is a curated event featuring a select film and a short presentation by a mythologist or mythically-inclined cinephile, followed by open discussion with the audience. 

Additional Details

  • This film is rated R. Anyone under 17 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
  • Arrive early to secure parking and take your seat. This event begins promptly at 6:00pm.
  • PRS is located at the corner of Los Feliz Blvd. and Griffith Park Blvd, with a parking lot in front (via LFB).
  • Parking spaces are limited. Street parking is available but also limited. Please read signs carefully and park at your own discretion.
  • Alternatively, consider public transportation or take an Uber/Lyft, especially if planning to drink.
  • The Philosophical Research Society graciously extends their BYOB policy to this event. Please be mindful of your intake and dispose of all used containers!
  • This event takes place over normal dinner hours. Don’t arrive too hungry, but don’t arrive too full either! In addition to the bag of popcorn included with your ticket, PRS will also be selling candy, soda, and other movie snacks on site.


Email Carlyle Coash at

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Advance tickets only. All sales final. No refunds or exchanges.