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Postmodernism and Fight Club

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John Duggan

on 30 November 2017

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Transcript of Postmodernism and Fight Club

Postmodernism is therefore…
A critical approach to Film
Postmodernism
In Film…
Postmodernist films upsets the mainstream conventions of narrative structure and characterisation and destroys the audience’s suspension of belief.
Postmodernism is therefore…
A critical approach to Film
Postmodernism
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.
Features of postmodern films
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 Postmodern Film
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.
Genres of Postmodernism
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.
Analysis of a flattening affect Film
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.
Fight club Analysis
Intertextuality
This is when one media text references another

Intertextuality mixes forms, genre, conventions, media; It dissolves boundaries between high and low art, between the serious and the comic.
Taking Postmodernism further…
How can Intertextuality be seen as part of Postmodernism?
Taking Postmodernism further…
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 in Society
The breakdown of the distinction between 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 in Society
“The distinction between media & reality has collapsed”
“There is no such thing as originality”
Outkast
Mick Jagger
Chuck Berry
Bo Diddley
Simulacrum
“A copy of a copy of a copy”
Postmodernism in Society
Simulacrum
“A copy of a copy of a copy”
Postmodernism in Society
Mixing of Styles - Hybrid Genres
Postmodernism in Society
In MODERNITY there is PARODY, which ridicules by exaggerating the distance of the original text from “normal” discourse.

In POSTMODERNITY, there is PASTICHE, a “blank” parody; there’s no sense of a distance from any norm.
Blue Harvest
Pastiche
Postmodernism in Society
Confusions 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 in Society
Confusions over time and space
Postmodernism in Society
An emphasis on style at the expense of 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 in Society
An emphasis on style at the expense of substance and contnet
Postmodernism in Society
The breakdown of a distinction between high culture (art) and pop culture
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 in Society
LOW ART

Advertising
Pop Music
Genre Films
Television
Trashy Novels
Music videos
The breakdown of a distinction between high culture (art) and pop culture
HIGH ART

Fine art
Opera
Ballet
Classical Music
Classic Literature
Art Cinema
Sculpture
Postmodernism in Society
The breakdown of a distinction between high culture (art) and pop culture
Postmodernism in Society
The 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’.
Postmodernism in Society
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