A film seminar, entitled "Amateur vs. the Industry", took place on November 6, 2012 at the Center for Urban History Conference Hall. The meeting included the screening of John G. Avildsen’s Rocky (USA, 1976). The film seminar was part of the "Sports and the City: People. Society. Ideology" exhibition, currently on at the Center.
This film on the fight of an amateur against a professional athlete has become a cult classic all over the world. Boxer Rocky Balboa (portrayed by Sylvester Stallone) has already taken his place in the pantheon of the heroes of contemporary mass culture, and needs no introduction. It is, however, instructive to look at the success story of the film itself – a success story that shows parallels to the film’s narative.
This low-budged movie about a "simple man" challenging the global sports and entertainment industry, has achieved a similar feat by becoming the biggest box office hit in its release year. The makers of the film invested 1 million dollars, and got their investment back 225 times over. This, however, begs the question of whether this was not an achievement of the very sports and entertainment industry. Avildsen’s film can be considered an exceptional masterpiece that reminds people of the importance of individuality in a global world. But it could also be seen as another link on the conveyor belt of entertainment images being sold to the viewers even in the form of self-contradiction.