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Cinema and postmodernism

ECTS Credits : 2

Duration : 24 hours

Semester : S7

Person(s) in charge :

Laurent Jullier, Professor, 

Keywords :


Prerequisites : None


Understand the post-modern style's dominance in today's global cinema economy

Program and contents :

Since Star Wars (1977), a type of cinema called “postmodern” has come to the screen. This cinematographic style is the product of a double crisis, that of the classic figures of a story and how they are depicted, and that of Modernity, which tries to find solutions the former.

This course attempts to give an understanding of how and why this style has become so dominant in the worldwide economy of cinema. Why were there so many tips of the hat to Astérix mission Cléopâtre or Shrek? Why were so many old faces recycled in Indiana Jones or Star Wars? Why did Kill Bill cast aside the question of morality? How and why did MTV clips develop a hypnotic strategy?

A parallel revolution also took place in the spectator’s behavior. Fun and cool (if not trash) have also become dominating values, and what we expect of a film and a cinema is no longer what we expected thirty years ago. The internet has also changed the way we buy and create: thousands of amateur films are now at our disposition. Why such a change? How and why are certain films cult objects? How have film critics supported this evolution?

To answer these questions, we need to look at esthetics, philosophy and the history of
technology. This course does not require any prerequisites in these subjects, (do not be
daunted by the vocabulary used in the program listed below), nor in cinema either.

Contents - Progam

Session 1. Postmodernism: what is it? Answer is given through visual aids. Literarity and the roots of “moi”. Degrees of enunciation. The fall of the Great Narratives. A liquid world. Elements of queer theory.
Session 2. Postmodernism: what is it? Answer is given through visual aids. Synaesthesia, nostalgia. Crisis of causality. Escape from gravity.
Session 3. Postmodernism: what is it? Answer is given through visual aids. Cool mentality, anhedonia. Like a virgin, look, otakus et watchas. The world as an image. Velleity of the politics of the image.
Session 4. Postmodern archaeology. A crisis in Hollywood: Analysis of The Graduate (Mike Nichols 1967)
Session 5. Postmodern archaeology. Modernity in crisis: The limitations of reflexivity, the wall of right.
Session 6. Postmodern style. 1/ Figures of immersion. 2/ Double game, the allusive system
Session 7. The hijacking of the postmodern style. Analysis of The Shining (Stanley Kubrick 1979)
Session 8. Digital Ideologies. Cinema of trace calculation. Art and digital. Textual poaching: the practices of receipt, reappropriation and hijacking in the Star Wars fan world.
Session 9. Celebrating the postmodern style. Death Proof (Q. Tarantino 2007)
Session 10. Ethics and postmodernism. OSS 117 and political correctness
Session 11. Ethics and postmodernism. Feminine myths; Alien; masculine myths: Austin Powers.

A word on evaluation

Students following this option are required to produce a piece of personal work of a minimum of 10 pages on a subject relating to postmodernism (in the form of a dissertation), or to present a certain object (film, book, cartoon strip, advert, video, video game, clothes collection, furniture...) as regards its postmodern aspects (in the form of an analysis)


Evaluation :

  • Written test
  • Continuous Control
  • Oral report
  • Project
  • Written report
  • Aucune étiquette