Ever since I’ve learned what postmodernism in movies was, I’ve been a big fan of it. Many of my favourite films are postmodern or have postmodern elements in them. I think it is a very entertaining and interesting movement. Postmodern movies are so much fun to watch and analyze, I think I’m in love with them. And I thought I could write a little thing about the three main characteristics of postmodernism.
Homage or pastiche: Postmodern movies will mix many different genres and make them fit together in a way you never expected. They can also “quote” or reference older works of arts, like paintings, books and other movies. It is always fun to find the similarities between the postmodern movie and the works it is quoting. An example that comes to mind right now is The Cabin in the Woods (2012). It has so many references to classic horror movies; every time I watch it, I find a new one!
Meta-reference: So basically, this is when a movie is self-referential or lets you know that it knows it is only a movie. The editing of the movie will be noticeable, the characters might break the fourth wall by talking directly to the camera or by using narration, the colours might look unnatural at times… Plus, postmodern movies often unfold in a non-chronological order. The movie wants to show you that it was constructed, assembled like a puzzle.
Contradictions: A postmodern movie might use loads of contradictions and paradoxes in the techniques they use to present the movie, or in the characters themselves. The ideas and morals introduced to us might change throughout the movie, or characters that really contradict each other might always been shown together. The concept of time and space practically doesn’t exist, which can lead to confusion at times, which contradicts our understanding of cinema itself.
A few suggestions
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
Pulp Fiction (1994)
The Big Lebowski (1998)
Fight Club (1999)
The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
Wes Anderson and Quentin Tarantino’s movies are great examples of postmodernism in films.