Postmodernist Film - Postmodernist Film

Postmodernist Film

Postmodernist film like postmodernism itself is a reaction to modernist cinema and its tendencies. Modernist cinema, "explored and exposed the formal concerns of the medium by placing them at the forefront of consciousness. Modernist cinema questions and made visible the meaning-production practices of film." The auteur theory and idea of an author producing a work from his singular vision guided the concerns of modernist film. "To investigate the transparency of the image is modernist but to undermine its reference to reality is to engage with the aesthetics of postmodernism." The modernist film has more faith in the author, the individual, and the accessibility of reality itself than the postmodernist film.

Postmodernism is in many ways interested in the liminal space that would be typically ignored by more modernist or traditionally narrative offerings. The idea is that the meaning is often generated most productively through the spaces and transitions and collisions between words and moments and images. Henri Bergson writes in his book Creative Evolution, "The obscurity is cleared up, the contradiction vanishes, as soon as we place ourselves along the transition, in order to distinguish states in it by making cross cuts therein in thoughts. The reason is that there is more in the transition than the series of states, that is to say, the possible cuts--more in the movement than the series of position, that is to say, the possible stops." The thrust of this argument is that the spaces between the words or the cuts in a film create just as much meaning as the words or scenes themselves.

Postmodernist film typically has three key characteristics that separate it from modernist cinema or traditional narrative film. 1) The pastiche of many genres and styles. Essentially, this means that postmodern films are comfortable with mixing together many disparate kinds of film(styles, etc.) and ways of film-making together into the same movie. 2) A self-reflexivity of technique that highlights the construction and relation of the image to other images in media and not to any kind of external reality. This is done by highlighting the constructed nature of the image in ways that directly reference its production and also by explicit intertextuality that incorporates or references other media and texts. The deconstruction and fragmentation of linear time as well is also commonly employed to highlight the constructed nature of what appears on screen. 3)An undoing and collapse of the distinction between high and low art styles and techniques and texts. This is also an extension of the tendency towards pastiche and mixing. It typically extends to a mixing of techniques that traditionally come with value judgments as to their worth and place in culture and the creative and artistic spheres.

Lastly, contradictions among technique, values, styles, methods, and so on are important to postmodernism and are many cases irreconcilable. Any theory of postmodern film would have to be comfortable with the possible paradox of such ideas and their articulation.

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... Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction is another popular example of a postmodernist film ... The film tells the interweaving stories of gangsters, a boxer, and robbers ... The film breaks down chronological time and demonstrates a particular fascination with intertextuality bringing in texts from both traditionally "high" and "low" realms of art ...

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