What makes the films of David Lynch and Jim Jarmusch postmodern?

GRIN Verlag
Free sample

Seminar paper from the year 1998 in the subject Film Science, grade: 1, University of Aberdeen (English Department), course: American Film Renaissance, 10 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: The term ‘postmodern’ has been used in different areas of study to describe similar phenomena. However, one must differentiate between postmodernism as a historical period, a cultural theory and an aesthetic category. The latter two uses will be the most important ones for my essay. It is essential for my discussion to include theories on postmodern culture, because the relationship between the real and its representation, and the zeitgeist as presented in film, is of vital importance for postmodern film. I will not define the term postmodernism here, on the one hand because the brevity of this essay does not allow my entering this ongoing debate, and, on the other hand, because the term itself escapes any fixed definition - it is rather a set of different tendencies. The terms ‘postmodernism’ or ‘the postmodern’ are less precise categories than different versions of an all-embracing gesture which sums up a spirit of the times, an atmosphere.1 However, to be able to discuss whether or not Jim Jarmusch’s and David Lynch’s films are postmodern, I must first find a definition for ‘postmodern film’. One would expect a postmodern film to tackle the postmodern condition, life in postmodernity, as its subject matter. Since the differences in class, gender and ethnicity are central to the discussion of postmodernism,2 one can assume that these categories are equally important for the plot of a postmodern film. However, Down and Out in Beverly Hills is a film about life in the postmodern city and deals with questions of class and gender, but it is conventional in its style and structure, and obviously far from being a postmodern film. Thus not only the subject matter, but also the audiovisual style and narrative structure of a film should display postmodern characteristics.
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Additional Information

Publisher
GRIN Verlag
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Published on
Jun 30, 2003
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Pages
11
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ISBN
9783638200912
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Language
English
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Genres
Music / Reference
Performing Arts / Film / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Essay from the year 1998 in the subject American Studies - Culture and Applied Geography, grade: 1 (A), University of Aberdeen (English Department), course: Read the City - Read the Text, 11 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: Edward W. Soja called Los Angeles ‘the quintessential postmodern metropolis’. This, however, shall not be the premise of my argument in this essay, because of the obvious danger of circularity. Yet I will use postmodern critics and compare my findings to postmodern models of culture, space and society. I will not discuss the term postmodernism itself, simply because the range of this essay does not allow my entering this ongoing debate. The term will be used as denoting both a period, beginning, for my purposes, in the 1960s, and a theory of cultural tendencies in contemporary life. For this essay, I will assume that postmodernism is a fact, a part of everyday reality, and that it differs substantially from modernism. The main body of this essay will consist of a discussion of the fundamental factors which define Los Angeles as postmodern space. I will focus on particularities that distinguish Los Angeles from other cities, most of all from those which have not yet crossed the threshold of postmodernity. Firstly, I will investigate the geographical instability of the city; the fact that it is threatened to be annihilated by natural forces such as earthquakes and the desert. Secondly, I will address the idea of the city as a desert, its horizontality, its vastness, its lack of centre. Thirdly, the structure on this flat surface will be addressed; the freeways as an arterial network, and the structure of segregating walls, both literal and metaphorical. Finally, I will conclude by investigating the parallels between the idea of instability that underlies all of the factors I discuss, and the notion of the unstable in postmodernism.
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