The objective of this research is the discussion of the intertextuality as the characteristic of postmodern in two films: “Pulp Fiction” by Quentin Tarantino (US, 1994), and the trilogy “The Matrix” by Wachowski brothers. (US, 1999). Both of these films are known as the examples of post modernistic movies due to narrative structure, intertextuality, new techniques and an effect of hyper-reality. The discussion is aimed on the comparison of two films, the research of the specific characteristics of postmodern in them, with the main attention paid to intertextuality.
The analysis of the reliable sources, the publication and arguments is intended to prove the relevancy of both films to postmodern. The book by Andrew M. Buttler and Bob Ford “Postmodernism” (2003) was used as the theoretical base for this research. The main author, A. Battler, is a British academic who teaches film, media and cultural studies at Canterbury Christ Church University. His works in the literary critics was nominated to different awards, so the book can be considered as a reliable source.
“An introduction to theories of popular culture” (1995) by Dominic Strinati was also used as a theoretical base. This book describes different theories of modern popular cultures including post-modernism. “The Sage dictionary of cultural studies” by Chris Barker (2004) was used for better terms understanding along with the definition from Oxford English Dictionary. The main sources used in the detailed films’ analysis are: “The new-brutality film: race and affect in contemporary Hollywood cinema” (2005) by Paul Gormley and the book by Mules, W “The codes of film” for the analysis of “Pulp Fiction”.
Mules is also known as one of the authors of “Introducing Cultural and Media Studies: A Semiotic Approach” together with Thwaites, T. and Davis, L. Both of this books discusses “Pulp fiction” as the work relevant to post-modernism. The basic concepts about “The Matrix” trilogy came from “The Matrix and the Alice Books” (2010) by young Hungary writer Voicu Mihnea Simandan and the articles “Back to the future: The humanist “Matrix” (2003) by Bartlett, L & Byers, T. and “Plugging Back Into The Matrix” (2007 by Jennifer M. Proffitt et al.
The book by Hungary writer is interesting with the detailed comparison of the characters of Alice and Neo. The article by Bartlett and Byers researches the mythology in the Matrix, and the article by Proffitt provides the unexpected approach to the intertextuality in “The Matrix” from the marketing point of view. Postmodernism and its basic characteristics Oxford English Dictionary defines postmodernism as follows: “Postmodernism n. a style and movement in the arts that features a deliberate mixing of different styles and draws attention to artistic traditions. (OED)
This definition scholarly describes the concept of postmodern but it can hardly be enough to the complete understanding of this concept. Speaking about the films of Quentin Tarantino it would be better to use the definition from the book “Postmodern” by Butler & Ford: “Postmodernism is a movement, a set of aesthetics, a cultural logic, an ideology, a Zeitgeist, an age, an ethos, a mood. It’s a bandwagon. It’s a scam, a con trick, an example of the emperor’s new clothes, nihilistic nonsense, dangerously fascist and right wing. It’s the only surviving form of Marxism.
It’s a continuation of modernism. It’s a rejection of modernism. It is what you need before you can have modernism. It is nothing to do with modernism. It is the only way to understand now. It’s all over now. It never existed. It’s……. Postmodernism is difficult to explain and certainly difficult to define. ” (Butler & Ford, 2003, p. 7) Strinati in his book also describes postmodernism as “Coming to terms with and understanding a media-saturated society. The mass media, for example, were once thought of as holding up a mirror to, and thereby reflecting, a wider social reality.
Now that reality is only definable in terms of surface reflection of the mirror” (1995). The main characteristics of post-modern film, according to the lecture, include mainstream conventions of characterization and narrative structure, toys with audience’s suspension of disbelief, pastiche/parody Self-referential, tongue-in-cheek, rehashes of classic pop culture, technology, violence, drugs, and the media lead to detached, emotionless, unauthentic lives, as well as hyper-reality more authentic or desirable than the real world.
However, this list doesn’t include intertextuality, which is one of the main characteristics of post-modern at all. This term was coined by the Russian researcher Knristeva in 1960s to define the interdependence of all literary texts. Intertextuality is often called as the death of the author, because it allows creation of new works from the quotes totally. Barker describes the philosophical side on intertextuality:
“More philosophically, and as argued by Khristeva as a context of her discussion of Bakhtin and the notion of the dialogic, the concept of intertextuality refers to assimilation and generation of meaning across texts where all meaning depend on other meaning generated and\or deployed in alternative context. (…) In other words, textual meaning is unstable and cannot be confined to single words, sentences and particular texts. Meaning has no single originatory source, but is the outcome of relationships between texts, that is, intertextuality. (Barker, 101)”Sample Essay of Paperial.com