Objectives• To look at why Pulp Fiction is considered a post modern ﬁlm• To understand how post modern features are used, uniquely in this ﬁlm• To consider to what extend it is post modern
Scenes we will watch• The opening scene in the car and killing sections (Vincent’s story)• Vincent and Mia and Jack Rabbit Slims.• The killing of the black youth and the clean up.• Butch and the weapons and rescuing Marsellus Wallace
The ﬁlm• Made in 1993 with a production budget of only $9Million.• Directed and written by Quentin Tarantino• Followed the success of ‘Reservoir Dogs’, 1992, also directed by Quentin Tarantino.• Won numerous awards including the Palme d’Or at Cannes Film Festival.• Known as being containing many post modern features. For many, it is the quintessential post modern ﬁlm.
Pulp Fiction as a post modern ﬁlm• Intertexuality• Confusion over Space and Time• Unconventional narrative structure• Absurdity of plot and dialogue often concentrating on the trivial and mundane• Style over substance
Watch ﬁlm:• Why do you think it is post modern?
1. Inter textuality• The ﬁlm is post modern as it references a huge amount of other ﬁlms, owing to Tarantino’s almost encyclopaedic knowledge of ﬁlm and desire to play with inter textuality.• What intertextuality did you notice?
2. Confusion over Space and Time• There is confusion over what time period the ﬁlm is set in with conﬂicting details in the ﬁlm, so the audience may conclude it has deliberately not been set in any time period, which as this is an unconventional part of the plot and narrative, is a post modern.• How was this shown?
3. Unconventional Narrative structure• The narrative is non linear. This means it jumps from one period of time to another and is purposely playful.• Why would this be post modern?• What examples can you think of that show this?
3. Unconventional Narrative structure• It reminds an audience that it is a ﬁlm (not real life where events happens chronologically), and draws attention to narrative convention.• Another feature which is playful and self referential is when Mia draws a square on the screen - reminds you it is a ﬁlm and draws attention to construction of graphics on the screen.
4. Absurdity of plot and Mundane dialogue • Pulp Fiction devotes time to random killings which seem absurd and mundane discussions or activities without any such narrative function.Interestingly the mundane conversations are often about verbal definition,and the difficulty of making it.Why is this post modern?What examples can you think of?
4. Absurdity of plot and Mundane dialogue • These conversations about trivial meanings seem to relate both to:a) a kind of realism (most of us spend quite a bit of time in trivialconversations) and tob) postmodernism’s sense of the slipperiness of the meaning of words andwordplayScenes which do this are: Le Big Mac, Is a dog a filthy animal? The Footmassage.
5. Style over Substance• What do you think?• Some think there are too many inter textual references and that they get in the way of the ﬁlm being enjoyable.• Tarantino wanted ﬁlm critics to discuss the ﬁlm and was very conscious of rewarding cultural capital to a select few elite viewers with ﬁlm knowledge• It remains a po-mo classic, and was a commercial success, but is still relatively cult with a niche audience.
Slides to watch from Colourful, but long, Pulp Fiction PPT• Intertextuality - 3, 28, 11, 18, 14, 17, 26, 42• Unconventional narrative: Space and Time - 54• Time period - 4• High and low art - 50• Realism - 9• Bible - 8
Themes and meaning• It is a tragic ﬁlm without the sadness and a comedy without a comic plot.• It champions itself as a ﬁlm that bends political correctness.• From the beginning the title makes reference to the pulp American trashy novels that were popular and full of violence and by sanitising and glorifying the violence, it plays homage to it at the same time as being self referential and mocking it.
Themes and meaning• It looks at male honour (Butch rescuing Marsellus Wallace; Butch’s dad’s watch)• It also looks at American consumerism. (robbing wallets in Diner; 50c milkshake)• Women have secondary roles but the females are empowered and it is not sexist.• One of the themes is that you must take consequence for your actions, this moral message is seen when Vincent and Jules are seen cleaning the blood from the car in which the black youth is murdered.
Conclusion• It has several post modern features• It can deﬁnitely be concluded as post modern ﬁlm• Its post modern features, especially intertextuality are predominant and heavily used.