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Postmodern Film Essay

2820 words - 11 pages

The postmodern cinema emerged in the 80s and 90s as a powerfully creative force in Hollywood film-making, helping to form the historic convergence of technology, media culture and consumerism. Departing from the modernist cultural tradition grounded in the faith in historical progress, the norms of industrial society and the Enlightenment, the postmodern film is defined by its disjointed narratives, images of chaos, random violence, a dark view of the human state, death of the hero and the emphasis on technique over content. The postmodernist film accomplishes that by acquiring forms and styles from the traditional methods and mixing them together or decorating them. Thus, the postmodern film challenges the “modern” and the modernist cinema along with its inclinations. It also attempts to transform the mainstream conventions of characterization, narrative and suppresses the audience suspension of disbelief. The postmodern cinema often rejects modernist conventions by manipulating and maneuvering with conventions such as space, time and story-telling. Furthermore, it rejects the traditional “grand-narratives” and totalizing forms such as war, history, love and utopian visions of reality. Instead, it is heavily aimed to create constructed fictions and subjective idealisms.
Postmodern film directors such as Ridley Scott, Woody Allen, Quentin Tarantino, The Coen Brothers, David Lynch, Christopher Nolan and others, make films that are often highly original, by reproducing the very popular mood of anxiety, fear, uncertainty and cynicism that reflects in the general society.
The film’s story does not simply shines forth, but is also the foundation of the plot. The film’s plot makes the traditional guidelines applicable by communicating story information. This aspect of the film structure is called narration. According to D. Bordwell, J. Staiger and K. Thompson(1988) the classical cinema has sought to limit narration to the manipulating of the camera, as in John Cromwell’s remark that: “The most effective way of telling a story on the screen is to use the camera as the story-teller.”. On the same hand, the traditional film narration encourages the viewer to see it as displaying an apparently substantial fictional world which has simply been filmed for the benefit of the viewer. As D. Bordwell, J. Staiger and K. Thompson(1988) point out, Andre Bazin characterizes the classical film as being like video captured play – the story development seems to exist objectively, while the camera implies on no more than presenting the best view and on emphasizing the right things. However, narration can actually draw upon any film technique as long as the technique can convey story information. Thus, figure position, facial expressions, conversations and precise encounters between characters all function just as narrationally as do camera cuts, movements or bursts of music.
In the same way, in the traditional motion pictures, narration is...

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