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Postmodernist film


Postmodernist film

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Postmodernist film describes the ideas of postmodernism in film. Postmodernism in film can loosely be used to describe a film in which the audience's suspension of disbelief is destroyed, or at the very least toyed with, in order to free the audiences appreciation of the work, and the creators means with which to express it. The cornerstones of conventional narrative structure and characterisation are changed and even turned on their head in order to create a work who's internal logic forms it's means of expression.

Though a popular movement in theatre, particularly with Bertolt Brecht's epic theatre and his verfremsdungeffekt, post modernist film didn't break into the mainstream until the advent of the French New Wave in the 1950's and 60's, with such films as Jean-Luc Godard's À bout de souffle. Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí's 1928 surrealist short Un Chien Andalou could be argued as a post modernist film however it's extreme deconstruction of structure and character make it's meaning almost entirely arbitrary, and thus to still convey some desired meaning post modernist films still maintain some conventional elements in order for the audience to grasp them. Two such examples are Jane Campion's Two Friends, in which the story of two school girls is showed in episodic segments arranged in reverse order; and Karel Reisz's The French Lieutenant's Woman, in which the story being played out on the screen is mirrored in the private lives of the actors playing it, which we also see. By making small but significant changes to the conventions of cinema the artificiality of the experience and the world presented is emphasised in the audience's mind, in order to remove them from the conventional emotional bonds they have to the subject matter, and to give them a new view of it. Another popular example is Michael Winterbottom's 24 Hour Party People in which the character based on Tony Wilson frequently breaks out of the constructed world of the film and talks directly to the audience straight through the camera lense. Although jarring in effect it works well as much of the characters pre-occupation is with breaking out of the cultural and economic constructions of the world he is living in.

The antithesis of post modern cinema is remodernist film in which the emphasis is back on a subjective emotional connection to the film. Remodernism rejects Post-Modernism because of its "failure to answer or address any important issues of being a human being".[1] One such remodernist film is Jesse Richards short Shooting at the Moon.

These two styles of film making need not be mutually exclusive however, which shows how post modernism has been absorbed into the modern lexicon of film makers, and has become just another way to explore themes and characters.

An interesting combination of post modernism and remodernism is Scot McPhie's In My Image, which is remodernist in its style but post modernist in its sensibilites. Conventions of character and narrative structure are maintained, but the major themes of religion and colonisation are tackled in a classically post modern way. In one scene an idealist barrister cross-examines a converted New Guinean highlander over his new found religious beliefs, by deconstructing the role of language in meaning, and ultimately belief itself. However in the film's dénouement the post modern thematic arguments are cast away for a humanist respect of the characters for one another, regardless of their beliefs.

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This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.

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