It's about flights of fantasy, and the nightmare of reality, terrorist bombings, and late night shopping, true love, and creative plumbing.' (Gilliam; 1985). This tagline for the film Brazil highlights most of the concepts present in postmodernist criticism of cinema and television. Indeed, fantasy, dreams, nightmares, the questioning of reality, reason, logic and truth and the creation of an alternate reality are at the centre of post-modern thought. These concerns are explored in the Brazil, where Ministry of Information Employee Sam Lowry escapes a grim reality through dreams, and in the television series Twin Peaks (Frost and Lynch; 1990-1991) where FBI special agent Cooper uses dreams to understand and uncover the secrets beneath a seemingly quiet and pleasant reality. Playfulness, pleasure, the shallow space of display, the alliance of electronics and corporate power' (Sobchak; 1987: 228-234 in Bordwell; 1989: 116) are only some of the characteristics of post-modern film.
[...] Central to postmodernism is the absence of meaning and truth. Again, Cooper's love of trivial details, according to Brent (in Lavery; 1995: 182), undermines the ‘absence of consistent, coherent meaning in the world' and therefore distrusts the idea of reason and logic. Postmodernism opposes the idea of truth, as the mysterious identity of Laura Palmer dies with her and although the viewers' quest for truth might lead them to a personal reading of the series, complete closure will never be attained and Twin Peaks reaches the point where the question was Laura Palmer?' becomes as important as killed Laura Palmer?' In Conclusion, we can say that both texts explore aspects of the post- modern, while articulating its meanings in very different ways. [...]
[...] According to writer and philosopher Umberto Eco (in Bignell; 2003:166), postmodernism the elite are those who run media culture: television, advertising and popular culture'. He also emphasises the dominance of visual communication, which is very present in Brazil as information is communicated through television, computers and billboards. This points out to the idea that techno culture, and technocrats in particular, have a totalitarian control of society believing no mistakes can be made, which is exactly what happens in Brazil. Indeed, the media triggers excessive paranoia. [...]
[...] This leads us to the concept of the “hyperreal”, as exposed by Jean Baudrillard, in which experience of reality has become indistinguishable from the television and media conventions which shape the ways in which we perceive it' (Bignell; 2003: 174). An example of this can be seen in the restaurant scene where the ‘numbers' served are only photographs of what they represent. The customers are supposed to imagine the taste by looking at a representation of the food. We can therefore ask ourselves whether there exists a reality at all, as actor Jonathan Pryce (Sam Lowry) commented, ‘it's half a dream and half a nightmare. [...]
[...] Thus, by using techniques such as intertextuality, irony and mixing a wide range of materials, postmodernism distrusts the idea of good versus bad, as in the distinction between good art and bad art, as well as other binary oppositions such as high and low culture and the deep and superficial. It also dismisses the idea of genre and categories as well as the ways of making logical meaning. Furthermore, avant-garde film and video is, according to Rees (1999: ‘drawn to find the marvellous in the banal'. [...]
[...] Twin Peaks shows that the movement is not just about technology and time but also about new and original ways of thinking and filming. One of the features of the series is the fragmentation that it creates in having episodic narratives which often undercut expectations or predictable continuity. With its convoluted plot and the fact that every episode brings in new enigmas, the series did not lead its audience towards a unique and final resolution but played on the idea of openness promoted by postmodernism, and thus ‘frustrated any hope of definitive closure', as Sconce (in Newcomb; 1997:pg.un) argues. [...]
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