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The Post-Modernist Elements in the Movie Named Pulp Fiction

This paper will be focusing on the post-modernist elements in the movie named Pulp Fiction (1994) by emphasizing the arrangement of time in the film in accordance with the qualities of the movement. In order to understand the analysis better and to see the whole picture, it is essential to have a brief information about the mentioned movement and how it is reflected on the cinema.

Postmodernism can be seen both as a reaction to modernism, and also a succession of it. Yet, unlike realism the antecedent movement which suggested the art or the work to reflect the outer world as it is and provide a slice of life to the consumer, postmodernism agrees that the reality is not only one ultimate truth, neither emerges from the narratives, it is, a perception that changes from person to person and is shaped according to the individual’s beliefs and attitude.

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Other than the questioning of reality which is not a determining base factor anymore, all the other grand narratives such as religions, myths, governing techniques that influence people are assumed to be illusory rather than providing information and guidance.

Just before that, during the modernism period not only the theorists but also the people who were living at that time had a painful phase, a phase came after the realization of having lost the aim of their lives, or their center which kept them stable until that time. This sense of loss had led them to turn inwards, to their consciousness and own subjectivity rather than what is happening in the outside world.

As a successor of modernism, postmodernism also has a point about individualism and reality, however, it neither puts an absolute truth forward nor leads the people to focus on the inside or on the way that individuals deal with the outer reality. For it, there is no reality or a meaning to place as a center or a ground. Although it didn’t emerge by the help of a war or a destruction, postmodernism nearly took its root from the media culture, which also does not have anything to the with the ‘reality’ or the meaning.

On the contrary to the modernism, having no center at all and not being stable is not a problem but a freedom is something to be cherished. —Only by letting go, individuals can break free themselves from the artifical human constructed rules of the society; religion, customs, rules, codes, standards. In the end, poststructuralism, by ignoring the superficial world that is made of breakable, imitation reality, tends to break the boundaries, oppositions and hierarchies that are constructed.

When it comes to postmodernism’s reflection on the cinema, it can be said that the breaking from the ordinary life situations and stereotypical characters, and understanding of reaching an end either it is good or bad are the main distinguishing elements. As the concept of reality and the notion of meaning are totally removed, postmodernist movies also have no single point to anchor throughout the movie as well.* What is more is that other than the basic but generally accepted notions such as gender, races and class and the differences among them are accepted as normal, rather than a seperation of high or a low culture.

After this removal and the drastic changes made upon these concepts later showed themselves in a way in which the genres are also mixed within another and the usual time arrangement is disorganized. Already got away from the typical movie understanding which generally consist of three arranged parts, introduction, development and conclusion, there is no goal as to arrive an end or to make a general interpretation. As the movement put the emphasis on the receiver of the art piece to interpret however they like it, there is no certain final that can be understood or a message that is to be received by everybody in the same way.

The scenes are highly fragmented, there is almost no background information about characters, even there is no past reference to their relationships during the screentime. Just like the critic Frederic Jameson ‘s ideas about cultural schizophrenia , everything is represented as ‘signs’, as the link between the signs are removed, each individual is in an isolation as if their history, and the meaning of their existence is demolished as a result of questioning the world which consists of images only.

Trapped in the present time, in a world full of imagery while floating in the air where there is no center of realism to hold on, characters can be said to have some kind of a historical amnesia. Such situation is callad ‘pastiche’ with another name, and expected to provide a unique, creative individual specific world to the individual by this sense of loss. Intertextuality, as a distinctive element is also preferred in post-modernist cinema. Referances to other movies, sometimes to other fictional or real life people, actual or made up events, ideas, art works, even to sacred religious books are frequently made.

Now if we are to move on to Pulp Fiction by the light of this information the very first scene in which a couple are sitting in a restaurant in daytime yet, having a conversation about violent issues such as robbery and murder should catch our attention. It is not only strange because they are a couple at a restaurant, but the dialogues they have look like they are a part of a gangster movie in which the bad guys are making a murder plan in the middle of the night.

Unlike a typical couple image having sweet talk and flirting maybe, this one in the middle of a day, and in an ordinary restaurant talk eagerly about comitting crime. So, it can be said that even from the start, we are introduced to a intert clashing of the typical understanding of the couples with the gangsters as well as the switch between the day and night time.

In the following scene, a needlessly big fight over a hambuger occurs between adult men. Even though it seems quite normal, their mimics and gestures are extravagant and men overreact for a burger menu. Later, when things get worse Jules makes a referance to a biblical passage attributed to Ezekiel which in reality, does not exist.

Moreover, the very selected passage is not only made-up, but also a quotation used in the movie The Bodyguard, a Sonny Chiba film. Like the meaningless fight made by grown-up men over food in a place resembles an interrogation session in a bloody thriller movie, the exact opposite of the first scene in which an ordinary couple having food made conversation about robbery, the referance made to the so-called bible passage is also meaningless. Neither the actions of the individuals nor the consequences have no rational or emotional meaning and they do not carry any message as aclassical postmodern movie.

However, time moves only in the present time, there is no flashbacks or referances to the past. The events mentioned so far too looks as if the characters or the dialogues are taken from a variety of different movies or works and pasted randomly in one particular work. From this point, the movie also applies to intertextuality function as well.

Also, the time distinction is blurred at the level of a removal by the help of intertextuality again within the including of ‘50s icons such as Marilyn Monroe, James Dean and etc. in the restaurant, adding some 1960’s pop music, and mixing 70’s words as ‘cool’ and even Madonna’s music video which is taken in the 80’s.

As Vincent also points in the movie the scene is like a‘’ wax museum with a pulse’’. There are old and new, vivid colors but no senses, and in the end real and imaginary are nearly indistinguishable This can also be seen in the scene where Vincent takes drugs but the whole movie is like taken from a person took drugs as well; no known time sequence, vivid colors, sense of loss, no emotions or rational thoughts but illusory and momentary views that do not last very long.

The movie does not only question the reality of time and everything else by offering scenes like Vincent’s given above, or Mia drawing an imaginary TV screen to point how illusory and temporary things are similar to the Baudrillard’s simulation theory but also shocks the viewer by placing the parts of the movie in a random order.

The final part of the movie is in the middle for instance, and the other parts are mixed. Time is not only fragmented in each scene, but in the whole movie. For abusing and questioning reality and reflecting the fragmentated lives of archetypical individuals who have lost their meaning with a time-place dissension with vivid images Pulp Fiction is a post-modernist movie.

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The Post-Modernist Elements in the Movie Named Pulp Fiction
Artscolumbia
Artscolumbia
This paper will be focusing on the post-modernist elements in the movie named Pulp Fiction (1994) by emphasizing the arrangement of time in the film in accordance with the qualities of the movement. In order to understand the analysis better and to see the whole picture, it is essential to have a brief information about the mentioned movement and how it is reflected on the cinema. Postmodernism can be seen both as a reaction to modernism, and also a succession of it. Yet, unlike realism the a
2021-09-21 07:58:01
The Post-Modernist Elements in the Movie Named Pulp Fiction
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