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  • 1. Unit G325 – Postmodern Media A Cock and Bull Story (Winterbottom, 2005)
  • 2. Lesson Objectives • To examine the features of A Cock and Bull Story that make it postmodern. • To understand why Winterbottom has again used postmodern techniques in the making of a film. • To confirm Winterbottom’s status as a postmodern auteur.
  • 3. A Cock and Bull Story – Postmodern Features • Breaking of the 4th wall destroying the audience’s suspension of disbelief. Coogan frequently directly addresses the audience. • Intertextuality – references to Alan Partridge and 24 Hour Party People for example. • Some intertextual casting – Tony Wilson as the interviewer for the DVD featurette. • Playful approach to film-making. Coogan even says ‘…the trouble with writing a book about yourself is that you can’t fool around. Why not?’ at the beginning of the film. There are lots of playful and unconventional techniques used in the film.
  • 4. A Cock and Bull Story – Postmodern Features • Not a chronological linear narrative – time and space jumps about all the time. Sometimes wipes are used to move the story in terms of time and space. The actor playing the director even says “it’s not continuous, we’ve jumped in time.” • No attempt to maintain realism. Again, Coogan says “He wants realism?….I’m a grown man talking to the camera in a BLEEP womb.” • Use of parody – exaggeration of Coogan’s celebrity persona in the sequence about what the tabloid journalist has discovered. •
  • 5. A Cock and Bull Story – Postmodern Features – Self-referentiality • Self-referentiality is when a text (book, film etc.) makes reference to itself OR to one or more of it’s processes of construction. • There is lots of self-referentiality in A Cock and Bull Story.
  • 6. Self-referentiality in A Cock and Bull Story.
  • 7. Self-referentiality in A Cock and Bull Story. • The one with Coogan and the camera crew after the bed scene • Mini war village • Coogan talking to camera about the ability of the child actors • Discussions with director and seeing him get into the fake womb • Him getting make up and costume at the beginning 7
  • 8. A Cock and Bull Story – Postmodern Features – Meta-textuality • Metatextuality refers to the idea of a text within a text or a text about the production of another text. • A Cock and Bull Story is metatextual in that it is both a literary adaptation of Tristam Shandy AND a film about the making of the literary adaptation of Tristram Shandy.
  • 9. Why all the pomo? • Reward the cultural capital of the target audience who would be interested in film (as a medium) and probably familiar with the book. • “the audience for this film are not going to be interested in a battle scene” • Directorial style that Winterbottom uses. • Book itself is postmodern in that it leaps about in terms of time and space. • Used for comedy purposes.
  • 10. Why all the pomo? • Fundamentally it’s a comedy and pomo playfulness is funny. • The book is a book about telling a story and the film is a film about making a film.
  • 11. Michael Winterbottom – Postmodern Auteur • An auteur is a film-maker who can be thought of as an ‘author’ because their films share certain characteristics (themes/genres/storylines/structures/ visual techniques etc). • Winterbottom uses postmodern techniques in both 24 Hour Party People and A Cock and Bull Story and is therefore a postmodern auteur.
  • 12. 24 Hour Party People • What are the film’s themes? • Rock music creation • Drugs and partying 24 hours a day • Sex • Setting up a record label, Factory records • A narcissistic look at one person, Tony Wilson • The power that goes to his head • The 80s were a crazy time in that ‘scene’ • One person’s journey to set up a new generation of music 12
  • 13. 24 Hour party people themes • Sex, drugs and rock and roll • Evolution of indie culture, Music culture • Difference between social groups - looking at TV presenter and the people he dealt with of ‘lower status’ • Looked at the Manchester (Madchester) scene • About the 80s and the formulation of a revolutionary record label and nightclub • Self references section did provide information about how this music ‘era’ was developing and its significance. 13
  • 14. A Cock and Bull themes • Examining the 18th century - gender roles • Self obsession of celebrities • Men’s roles are ‘manly’ and women have and look after children • 14
  • 15. A Cock and Bull Story • What are the film’s themes? • Gender representation - men and women not equals. • Looks at the egos of celebrities • Comparison of 18th century and 21st century life • How men aren’t sympathetic to women and the roles they perform eg giving birth 15
  • 16. 24 Hour Party People • Do the postmodern techniques used help Winterbottom to explore or communicate the film’s themes? • Why has he used postmodern techniques? • Do the postmodern techniques add to the film? 16
  • 17. A Cock and Bull Story • Do the postmodern techniques used help Winterbottom to explore or communicate the film’s themes? • Why has he used postmodern techniques? • Do the postmodern techniques add to the film? 17
  • 18. Homework essay question • With reference to 2 films, discuss the degree to which they can be considered postmodern. • 1000 words • Due Friday 18