Postmodernism A critical approach to Film What is Postmodernism? - An Oxymoron? - An overused & meaningless term? - A bunch of nonsense? - A “response” (or, “responses”) to modernism.
Postmodernism A critical approach to Film What is Modernism? Modernism, in its broadest definition, is modern thought, character, or practice. Modernism explicitly rejects the ideology or realism, and makes use of the works of the past, through the application of reprise, incorporation, rewriting, recapitulation, revision and parody in new forms. The term modernism encompasses the activities and output of those who felt the “traditional” forms of art, architecture, literature, religious faith, social organization and daily life were becoming outdated in the new economic, social, and political conditions of an emerging fully industrialized world.
Postmodernism A critical approach to Film Postmodernism is therefore…
Postmodernism A critical approach to Film Postmodernism is therefore… In Film… Postmodernist films upsets the mainstream conventions of narrative structure and characterisation and destroys the audience‟s suspension of belief.
Features of postmodern films• They don‟t pretend to wholly works, and often draw attention to the fact they are in fact fictitious. For instance, characters might stop and talk directly to the audience.• They often re-arrange or disrupt strict linear narratives, instead using circular narratives and open ended closures.• They often involve characters that feel disconnected or alienated from their environment and distrust authorities.
Genres of Postmodern• Pastiche: Self referential, tongue-in-cheek, rehashes of classic pop culture.• Flattening of Affect: Technology, violence, drugs, and the media lead to detached, emotionless, unauthentic lives.• Hyper reality: Technologically created realities are often more authentic or desirable than the real world.
Genres of Postmodernism• Time Bending: Time travel provides another way to shape reality and play “what if” games with society.• Altered states: Drugs, mental illness and technology provide a dark, often psychedelic, gateways to new internal realities.• More Human than Human: Artificial intelligence, robotics and cybernetics seek to enhance, or replace, humanity.
Analysis of a flattening affect Film• Fight Club a synopsis: A ticking-time-bomb insomniac and a slippery soap salesman channel primal male aggression into a shocking new form of therapy. Their concept catches on, with underground "fight clubs" forming in every town, until an eccentric gets in the way and ignites an out-of-control spiral toward oblivion.
Fight club Analysis• The main protagonist‟s journey from a depressed insomniac to, to an unhinged violent psychopath, Is according to the postmodernism theory, the characterization of a protagonist who is disconnected from wider society, this is a key feature of a postmodern film.• In Fight Club the movie uses a narrator through out the film who is one of the main protagonist this is another postmodern concept. This type of cinematography disrupts the linear sequence of the narrative and instead creates a circular narrative in which parts of the film are cliff hangers where the audience does not know what‟s happening next mirroring the actions of the main protagonist. Broadcast media bulletins are used to create suspense and tension. A dark color scheme connotes to the audience that this film is going to be violent and scary. This film is a classic example of the postmodernist theory.
Taking Postmodernismfurther…IntertextualityThis is when one media text references anotherIntertextuality mixes forms, genre, conventions, media; It dissolvesboundaries between high and low art, between the serious and thecomic.
Taking Postmodernismfurther…How can Intertextuality be seen as part ofPostmodernism?
Postmodernism inSociety What would it look like? - The breakdown of the distinction between culture & society - An emphasis on style at the expense of substance & content. - The breakdown of a distinction between high culture (art) and popular culture - Confusion over time & space - The decline of the meta-narrative or grand narrative (i.e. the absolute universal and all embracing claims to knowledge like science or religion)
Postmodernism inSocietyThe breakdown of the distinctionbetween culture & society - Mass culture is now so influential it is no longer „holding a mirror up to society‟ – it IS society. - The distinction between media and reality has collapsed - So new art/media artifacts are influenced by ones previous to it. - Simulacrum – a copy of a copy (of a copy) - Intertextuality – Using other texts in a „new‟ one
Postmodernism inSociety Simulacru “A copy of a copy of a copy” “There is no such thing as originality” m Bo Diddley Chuc k Outkast Mick Jagger Berry“The distinction between media &reality has collapsed”
Postmodernism inSociety Simulacru “A copy of a copy of a copy” m
Postmodernism inSocietyMixing of Styles - Hybrid Genres
Postmodernism inSociety In MODERNITY there is PARODY,Pastich which ridicules by exaggerating the distance of the original text from “normal” discourse.e In POSTMODERNITY, there is PASTICHE, a “blank” parody; there‟s no sense of a distance from any norm. Blue Harvest
Postmodernism inSocietyConfusions over time and space - Travel across the globe is swift, inexpensive and possible for most people - Most people have a fair knowledge of other cultures due to news/documentaries - The internet has broken down space and time barriers - 24hr cities
Postmodernism inSocietyConfusions over time and space
Postmodernism inSocietyAn emphasis on style at the expenseof substance and contnet - The visual and stylistic impact becomes more important than the meaning/message - Media texts which defy interpretation - Retro/Nostalgia - Shallow –Empty?
Postmodernism inSocietyAn emphasis on style at the expenseof substance and contnet
Postmodernism inSocietyThe breakdown of a distinctionbetween high culture (art) and popculture - Postmodernists – High and low cultrue are = - Against the „elitism‟ of high modernism - Text which contain elements of high and low culture - Treating „low art‟ or „pop culture‟ as if they were high art pieces.
Postmodernism inSocietyThe breakdown of a distinctionbetween high culture (art) and popculture HIGH ART LOW ART Fine art Advertising Opera Pop Music Ballet Genre Films Classical Music Television Classic Literature Trashy Novels Art Cinema Music videos Sculpture
Postmodernism inSocietyThe breakdown of a distinctionbetween high culture (art) and popculture
Postmodernism inSocietyThe decline of the meta-narrative - A meta-narrative is a narrative or story which claims to explain something totally – ie christianity, marxism - Because society is so fragmented, we live by individual, „hand picked‟ beliefs rather than collective ones - Post modern texts reflect this state of being by being ambiguous in their meaning/message. They defy an „absolute truth‟.
Taking Postmodernismfurther… The A Postmodern Case Study Matrix The Matrix is a 1999 science fiction-action film written and directed by Larry and Andy Wachowski and starring Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano, and Hugo Weaving. It was first released in the USA on March 31, 1999, and is the first entry in The Matrix series of films, comics, video games, and animation.
Taking Postmodernismfurther… A Postmodern Case Study Box Office Info $171 million in the U.S. and $460 million • It earned worldwide, and later became the first DVD to sell more than three million copies in the U.S. • The Ultimate Matrix Collection was released on HD DVD on May 22, 2007 and on Blu-ray on October 14, 2008. • The movie is also scheduled to be released stand alone in a 10th anniversary edition on Blu-ray in the Digibook format on March 31, 2009, 10 years to the day after the movie was released theatrically.
Taking Postmodernismfurther… A Postmodern Case Study In Postmodern thought, interpretations of The Matrix often reference Baudrillards philosophy to demonstrate that the movie is an allegory for contemporary experience in a heavily commercialized, media-driven society, especially of the developed countries. This influence was brought to the publics attention through the writings of art historians such as Griselda Pollock and film theorists such as Heinz-Peter Schwerfel.
Taking Postmodernismfurther… A Postmodern Case Study The Wachowski Brothers were keen that all involved understood the thematic background of the movie. For example, the book used to conceal disks early in the movie, Simulacra and Simulation, a 1981 work by the French philosopher Jean Baudrillard, was required reading for most of the principal cast and crew.
Taking Postmodernismfurther… A Postmodern Case Study • The Matrix makes many connections to Simulacra and Simulation. In an early scene, Simulacra and Simulation is the book in which Neo hides his illicit software. In the film, the chapter On Nihilism is in the middle, rather than the end of the book. • Morpheus also refers to the real world outside of the Matrix as the "desert of the real", which was directly referenced in the Slavoj Žižek work, Welcome to the Desert of the Real. In the original script, Morpheus referenced Baudrillards book specifically. • Keanu Reeves was asked by the directors to read the book, as well as Out of Control and Evolution Psychology, before being cast as Neo.
Taking Postmodernismfurther… A Postmodern Case Study Merrin – „Baudrillard and the Media‟ (2005 p131) The Matrix has us. Our consumption of the films, the merchandise, and the world and myth the Wachowskis sell us, and our collective orgasm over the effects and phones, guns, shades and leather, represent our integration into the virtuality it promotes. The Matrix became a viral meme spreading through and being mimetically (mimicked i.e. copied) and absorbed into modern culture, extending our virtualisation.
Taking Postmodernismfurther… A Postmodern Case StudyMerrin cont. Just as the film offered the stark choice of being inside or outside the matrix so you were either inside or outside the zeitgeist (the spirit of the times). To paraphrase Morpheus: The Matrix is everywhere. As Baudrillard makes clear, however, its fans and public are caught in a similarly invisible matrix that is far greater than depicted in the film, and that the film itself is part of and extends.
Taking Postmodernismfurther… A Postmodern Case StudyOther Postmodern Influences The film describes a future in which reality perceived by humans is actually the Matrix: a simulated reality created by sentient machines in order to pacify and subdue the human population while their bodies heat and electrical activity are used as an energy source. Upon learning this, computer programmer "Neo" is drawn into a rebellion against the machines. The film contains many references to the cyberpunk and hacker subcultures; philosophical and religious ideas; and homages to Alices Adventures in Wonderland, Hong Kong action cinema and Spaghetti Westerns.
Taking Postmodernismfurther… A Postmodern Case Study Challenging Film Making Conventions The film is known for popularizing the use of a visual effect known as "bullet time", which allows the viewer to explore a moment progressing in slow- motion as the camera appears to orbit around the scene at normal speed. One proposed technique for creating these effects involved propelling a high speed camera along a fixed track with a rocket to capture the action as it occurred. However, this was discarded as unfeasible, because not only was the destruction of the camera in the attempt all but inevitable, but the camera would also be almost impossible to control at such speeds. Instead, the method used was a technically expanded version of an old art photography technique known as time-slice photography, in which a large number of cameras are placed around an object and triggered nearly simultaneously.
Taking Postmodernismfurther… A Postmodern Case Study • The evolution of photogrametric and image-based computer-generated background approaches in The Matrixs bullet time shots set the stage for later innovations unveiled in the sequels The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions. Virtual Cinematography (CGI-rendered characters, locations, and events) and the high-definition "Universal Capture" process completely replaced the use of still camera arrays, thus more closely realizing the "virtual camera". • This film overcame the release of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace by winning the Academy Award for Visual Effects
Taking Postmodernismfurther… How is Fight Club postmodern ?
Taking Postmodernismfurther… A Postmodern Case Study