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Why do we love biographies so much? Popularity and impact of fact-based stories in pop culture

“Marie Curie: The Courage of Knowledge”, “Amok”, “Art of loving. Story of Michalina Wisłocka”, “Najlepszy/The fastest”, “Loving Vincent” – what do these movies have in common? Each of them was very popular among filmgoers in Poland last year and each of them tells true story of a given person.

Scientists. Sportsmen. Doctors. Criminals. Artists. As more and more biographies fill the shelves in bookstores and are screened in movie theaters every year, the market still seems to crave more stories about real characters. Why?
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Because life is the most interesting story ever written

When looking for inspiration, we like to take a closer look at people who experienced similar moments, struggled against adversity and overcame it, blazing their new trails. We love the stories in which we could be the main character. As Joseph Campbell once said in his book “The Hero with a Thousand Faces” – the story about character’s journey and adventures over his lifetime is a universal motif told all over the world in each and every culture. The researcher analyzed the myths, legends, and beliefs of the East and the West, and he concluded that the cycle of a character’s development was present from the earliest times of humanity. We can observe similar schemes in the story of Buddha, Osiris or... Luke Skywalker. George Lucas mentions Campbell’s mono-myth theory as one of the main inspirations for creating the Star Wars Universe.

Where the Star Wars Myths came from.

George Lucas at a banquet honoring Joseph Campbell for his book "A Hero with a Thousand Faces".

Where the Star Wars Myths came from.

George Lucas at a banquet honoring Joseph Campbell for his book "A Hero with a Thousand Faces".

What does Campbell's discovery have to do with pop culture being interested in biographies? A great example of creating a story around the mono-myth is the French movie “The Intouchables” – the story of a man from a poor neighborhood who, by a twist of fate, gets a job at a millionaire’s house, which turns out to be a turning point in both men’s lives. A similar scheme is visible also in the story of a boy from a small city near Warsaw, brought up without a father, who thanks to his hard work and strong spirit became a world-famous footballer – today, Robert Lewandowski is a millionaire.

The more difficult, the more... interesting

The stories of characters who overcame difficulties enjoy everlasting popularity. We are fascinated by people who seem insignificant but still take up the challenge and we are drawn to the significant turn they make to reach their spectacular finale. Such a character was Erin Brockovich, with an Oscar-winning role of Julia Roberts – a single mother, women with no higher education, potential beneficiary of social benefits, who challenged a huge corporation.

Erin Brockovich Clip Trailer

Erin Brockovich Clip Trailer

Equally spectacular example is the story from our own backyard shown in the movie and the book “Najlepszy” (“The Best”) presenting the life of Jerzy Górski – a boy struggling with drug dependence, who not only managed to overcome addiction but also reinvented himself anew with superhuman effort and hard work. The first Pole to be a double world champion in triathlon was our guest in webinar #TrendyRozmowy (#TrendyTalks) on Citi Handlowy’s Facebook profile. We would like to encourage you to take a look and listen to the story of this fascinating man.

Górski i Grass - najlepsi o sile sportu

Gościem cyklu #TrendyRozmowy w studio Citi Handlowy byli Jerzy Górski I Łukasz Grass. Połączeni przez sportową pasję i książk...

Górski i Grass - najlepsi o sile sportu

Gościem cyklu #TrendyRozmowy w studio Citi Handlowy byli Jerzy Górski I Łukasz Grass. Połączeni przez sportową pasję i książk...

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