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Postmodernism and cinema

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  1. Introduction.
  2. Techno culture.
  3. Dreams as a significant part of the story.
  4. Hybrids and the juxtaposition of elements.
  5. Twin Peaks.
    1. Exploring self-reflexivity in Twin Peaks.
    2. Hybrids in Twin Peaks.
    3. The scenes between Donna and James.
  6. The blurring of reality and surreality.
  7. The post-modern text.
  8. Conclusion.

?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. [...]


[...] Truman and brothers Ben and Jerry's names being among the many intertextual references. As a result, viewers can have pleasure and the sensation of ?knowing? when identifying those references. In that sense, post-modern television provides a different experience from that of ordinary television where everything seems to be either simplified or explained in a manner that everyone will be able to benefit. The post-modern text also dismisses the concept of binary oppositions for the profit of a juxtaposition of elements. [...]

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