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What exactly lies behind Arnold Schwarzenegger’s success story? From post-war Austria to the podiums of bodybuilding; from Hollywood to the political arena; his journey is a mirror held up to our era; a legend that, for the last 40 years, has reflected our dreams as well as our nightmares.

Now, nearly forty years after Terminator, everyone has learned to say “Arnold Schwarzenegger”. And no one is astonished anymore. His story has travelled the globe; one of the last great legends of America– “The leaving, breathing incarnation of the American dream”, as he himself likes to put it. It is the story of a young Austrian fascinated by grandeur that became the number one bodybuilder, the number one Hollywood actor, and the governor of California. Most importantly, it is the story of uncommon drive: that of a self-made man who knew how to patiently mold reality into the shape of his childhood dream.
And if this story is familiar to us today, and if nothing here astonishes us anymore, that is perhaps because the world has taken on his image.  It is perhaps because he came, like the Terminator himself, to predict our future. Today, bodybuilding has become common practice, newspapers continuously talk of our cyborg future, Donald Trump is in the White House and reality seems to have turned irreversibly into a spectacle. The story of Arnold Schwarzenegger is also our own: that of an era governed by the law of images, more fascinated than ever by the cult of ambition, impatient to be done with humanity in order to finally replace it with the reign of the machines.
So it is time, now that Schwarzenegger is over 70 and no longer looks much like a cyborg, to tell the story of the making of this legend that can speak volumes of our dreams, and also our nightmares.