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Postmodernism and Film

Postmodernism and Film: Rethinking Hollywood's Aesthestics

Series: Short Cuts
Copyright Date: 2015
Pages: 144
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  • Book Info
    Postmodernism and Film
    Book Description:

    This study examines postmodern film aesthetics and challenges to the aesthetic paradigms dominating film analysis. It explores conceptions of the classical, modernist, postclassical/new Hollywood styles and their construction as a linear history in which postmodernism informs a debatable final act. This history is challenged through Lyotard's nonlinear conception of postmodernism, which recasts postmodern aesthetics as a paradigm ocurring across the history of Hollywood. The book also explores "nihilistic" postmodern theorists Jean Baudrillard and Frederic Jameson and "affirmative" theorists Linda Hutcheon and Judith Butler, charting how they help conceptualize variants of postmodern aesthetics and deploy them in the analysis of such films asBombshell(1933),Serial Mom(1994), andKill Bill(2003).

    eISBN: 978-0-231-85083-4
    Subjects: Film Studies

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Catherine Constable
    (pp. 1-4)

    The term ‘postmodernism’ in the title ‘Postmodernism and Cinema’ links together a particular historical period and a distinctive aesthetic style. It is therefore helpful to distinguish between postmodernity – an epoch defined by its relation to the modern – and postmodern aesthetics – the key stylistic features of postmodernist artworks. Both the historical and the aesthetic definitions have been the locus of much disagreement. The issue of delineating a specific postmodern epoch is contentious. There are those who argue that postmodernity does not exist at all; those who position it after modernity, conceptualised as the rise of industrialisation and mass production, who typically...

    (pp. 5-38)

    This chapter will set out the ways in which Hollywood has been conceptualised, and the endeavours to map the postmodern within these accounts. It offers a meta-critical analysis of the key concepts governing the theorisation of the development of Hollywood cinema, focusing on the classical, its relation to the modern, the post-classical and the postmodern. This involves looking at historical models of studio-era Hollywood, the Hollywood Renaissance and New Hollywood. My analysis is primarily conceptual – I am interested in the elements that fall outside the frame provided by the classical as well as the theoretical divisions that are kept in...

    (pp. 39-74)

    This chapter will explore the work of key theorists who offer nihilistic constructions of postmodernity and postmodern aesthetics: Jean Baudrillard and Frederic Jameson.* This will involve outlining their overall position before focusing on their respective constructions of postmodern aesthetics and their relation to Hollywood cinema. I will demonstrate that Jameson’s work has been the most influential in the conception of postmodern Hollywood, which will involve analysing the book-length adaptation of his position by M. Keith Booker. My overall argument will show that the take up of Jameson’s conception of postmodern aesthetics in relation to Hollywood cinema seriously circumscribes the aesthetic...

    (pp. 75-119)

    This last chapter focuses on one major postmodern theorist, Linda Hutcheon, and examines the ways in which her work challenges the nihilistic models explored in chapter two. While Jameson’s work has been taken up in relation to Hollywood film, Hutcheon’s literary model is only rarely considered. This chapter will show how she provides a range of aesthetic concepts that facilitate an appreciation of the many textual strategies deployed by postmodern films, thereby offering a means of escaping the self-fulfilling conceptions of textual degeneracy and emptiness set up by the nihilistic models.

    The chapter begins with Peter and Will Brooker’s analysis...

    (pp. 120-122)

    As noted in chapter one, postmodern theorising does not slot neatly into place alongside previous systems. It does not leave everything as it was. Taking the challenges provided by Jean-François Lyotard and Linda Hutcheon seriously involves rethinking the aesthetic paradigms used to analyse Hollywood cinema, and the first chapter sets out a specific purview for the classical, post-classical and postmodern. While lack of space has prohibited further discussion of the post-classical, this book does delineate an affirmative postmodern aesthetic and realises some of its productive possibilities. On a Lyotardian model there is no such thing as a belated take up...

    (pp. 123-128)
  10. INDEX
    (pp. 129-135)