Postmodernism: Pulp Fiction

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Postmodernism: Pulp Fiction

  1. 1. “Pulp Fiction” Why is “Pulp Fiction” Postmodern?
  2. 2. “Pulp Fiction” looks back! • “Pulp Fiction” is a postmodern film because it ‘looks back’ and makes constant reference to earlier films. • The film starts with a reference to the French New Wave film “band a part” by Jean-Luc Goddard. A key characteristic of postmodern films is inter-textual reference to other, older films.
  3. 3. “Pulp Fiction” looks back! • Postmodern films constantly refer back to the past. There is nothing new to say, it has all been said. • In “Pulp Fiction” they go to a retro restaurant. Older music is playing; they dance an old dance (the twist). The waitresses are Buddy Holly and Marilyn Monroe.
  4. 4. “Pulp Fiction” looks back! • Postmodern films are inter-textual and refer to other films. • The dance reminds the audience of John Travolta dancing in “Saturday Night Fever”. It also makes reference to the dance scene in “bande a part”. The Marilyn Monroe waitress has her white dress blow up to her thighs as happens in “The Seven Year Itch” film.
  5. 5. “Pulp Fiction” • Another key postmodern characteristic is the lack of meta-narratives. In the second scene of the film, two gangsters are discussing hamburgers with as much seriousness as they discuss killing people. • The bible is quoted at very inappropriate moments. • The nature of ‘miracles’ is discussed.
  6. 6. “Pulp Fiction” • The lack of meta narratives leads to a lack of morality. • Murder is almost ‘matter of fact’! • Scraping the side of a car is almost regarded as the worst possible crime!
  7. 7. “Pulp Fiction” • Postmodern films are playful. • When Mia is in the car with Vincent, she draws a square to ‘jolt’ the audience and remind them they are watching a film. This is not reality as the graphic reminds us. This is not the ‘classic’ way that traditional films are watched by their audience. Normally we are encouraged to ‘suspend disbelief’.
  8. 8. “Pulp Fiction” • Post Modern films do not differentiate between high and low culture. • Both are of equal worth. • Butch’s partner refers to Madonna in the pop video for “Lucky Star” when she wants a pot belly.
  9. 9. Question • Why is “Pulp Fiction” a postmodern text? • Give specific examples to support your points.

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