Monday, 17 October 2011

Research Notes 2 - Post modern Hollywood by M. Keith Booker

Booker M. Keith, (2007), Post Modern Hollywood, USA, Library of Congress

Introduction: Post Modernism and Popular Film

  • Phenomenon of post modernity gained reputation of complexity and some elements regarded as 'common sense' but difficult for an ordinary person to grasp
  • David Lynch regarded as central to Post Modernism 
  • "For example, the films of David Lynch, widely regarded as a director of confusing 'art films', have been front and centre in academic discussions of post modern film." (Booker, 2007: ix)
  • Frederic Jameson discusses 'Blue Velvet' as a film that mocks and lends 'quasi - reverence' for icons of the past, while placing them in the present. 
  • Lynch's films are emphatic not reality but this causes viewers to be confused on the representations of reality and try to interpret as the real world 
  • MulHolland Drive as an example appears contemporary but atmosphere and style suggest film Noir of 1950's and draws upon various motifs from older films for plot and characterisation
  • Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory stylises a depiction of poverty because viewer can believe families won't starve and actually draws them together 
  • Darkness comes from factory itself and the Oompa Loompas as the slave work force, which in Dahl's original story were depicted as dark-skinned pygmies from Africa

1. Breaking up is Hard to Avoid - Fragmentation in Post Modern Film

  • opening shots of Welle's Touch of Evil reinforced by references by Hitchcock's Rope, as an entire length of extended shots 
  • "Then again, the increasing fragmentation of post modern film can in many ways be seen as a logical extension of older montage techniques and indeed of the evolution of film itself as a medium" (Booker, 2007: 2) 
  • Schizophrenic experiences is isolated, disconnected and fail to link up into a coherent sequence 
  • Post modern Narratives and characters experience fragmented and discontinuous identities 
  • Post Modernist Collage undercuts any unification of disparate images and doesn't offer 'univalent meaning' where as Modernism is 'Centripetal' and Utopian' - a whole and definitive answer
  • Split frames interfere with audience involvement with the narrative 
  • Post modernism as spartial rather than temporial 
  • Pulp Fiction - fragmented narrative and patchwork construction of bits and pieces of it's cultural past 
  • Hyper link crime films are influenced by Pulp's hip mode 
  • Post Modern Cognitive Mapping made particularly difficult by the global nature of late capitalism = films that interweave with many ideas of local reality consider a small portion of global systems 
  • "Part of the explanation may simply be that Lynch is reminding us of his god like power as the film's creator and of his ability to institute any strange turns that he wishes, whether they make sense or not." (Booker, 2007: 24) 
  • MulHolland Drive narrative drifts away before viewer can get a hold 
  • "... the identity shifts representing precisely the sort of displacement that Freud identifies as a key strategy of the dream work." (Booker, 2007: 27)
  • MulHolland Drive is formula construction of Hollywood narratives but cannot escape stereotypes it's criticizing 
  • for example Betty as a wide - eyed innocent promises of dreams of fame and achievement, as Selwyn she is much wiser and older who knows cruelty of Hollywood system 
  • 'MulHolland Drive is a film about the death of dreams'. 
  • presence of avant garde in Lynch's films 
  • Post Modernism as anti - capitalism and appear corny in the twenty first century 

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