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Sophie Nutt Postmodern media break the rules of representation. Discuss.

George Ritzer suggested that postmodern culture is signified by the blurring of the distinction between representation and reality. Modernism, gaining pace from about 1850, however, proposed new forms of art on the grounds that these are more appropriate to the present time and projected ideal versions of human life. As a reaction to this modern movement, postmodern media challenges and breaks the rules of representation on numerous levels. Postmodernism challenges the boundaries between genres, art forms, theory and art, high art, and the mass media, as well as being actively involved in examining the constructs society creates including nation, gender, race, and sexuality often breaking the rules of these representations in the process. Postmodern media can be seen to break the rules of representation significantly within the cult film Holy Motors, directed by Leos Carax. The film creates a hyperreal environment and raises issues surrounding representation of identity and characterisation illustrated by, who the audience recognises to be, Mr. Oscar. The audience is given clues to Holy Motors mysterious plot when an unidentified man appears in Oscars limo. Their conversation implies that Oscar is an actor who performs these scenes for an audience he will never see; he cannot see the cameras; he will never see the director. He is an actor completely severed from agency, let alone stable identity. He is driven from assignment to assignment, unable to step back and see the bigger picture of his work, let alone making lasting connections with other people. Frequent juxtaposing of characterisations are evident throughout the film, as a rich banker, of whom opens the film departing from a walled mansion with bodyguards, transforms into a beggar. Leos Carax questions the fickle nature and surface identities of people; explored through a virtual world of a life that is available to rent for a few hours. There's ambiguity and self-reflexivity deployed within the film and used to great extent, with its most obvious frame of reference being to cinema itself, and the relationship between art and real life. Mr. Oscar spends his life playing roles, even inhabiting both the hitman and the mark, and alongside the despair at never fixing on a true self, there is an obvious reveling in the the madness and the method that goes with the faade of acting. The rules of representation of characters are consistently broken throughout Inglourious Basterds, famously directed by Quentin Tarantino. Hyperreality is pursued through the exaggerated characterization in the persona of Hans Landa, and more significantly, when we are introduced to the basterds. Aldo Raine is the leader of the basterds, and the mannerisms of his character are greatly overstated, alongside his Southern accent. This hyperreality is further constructed as the audience sees him being attacked and dragged to a new location quite violently, although his costume and hair appear to stay pristine throughout the action. Tarantino removes emotion from the film with the process of deletion, allowing this humorous element to be added to the film, and encouraging the rules of character representation to be broken.

Sophie Nutt Character representation is also addressed within the film Drive, directed by Nicolas Winding Refn. In contrast to those within Inglourious basters, the characters within the narrative have little existing back story, to the extent that the audience is never told the real name of the lead character; our knowledge of him is based solely on what we take from his actions and appearance on screen, and he is only referred to as The Kid. There is a sense of a fading, threatened male hero as a representation of the postmodern sensibility. The fragile sense of male self, complementing the heros monstrousness, is basic to Drive. The film quickly undermines the older man/young acolyte idea basic to Westerns, challenged in a film like Se7en (1995). Shannon, The Kids employer, is a damaged, weary man of poor judgment who has nothing to teach; the kid seems smarter and more confident than his boss. By disregarding the rules in the representation of characters, Refn places his characters in a hyperreal environment, without having to explain their behaviour. Postmodern media breaks the rules of representation, particularly the representation of time in films. Inglourious Basterds, directed by Quentin Tarantino, manipulates the representation of time throughout the film, established in the opening credits. The music played as the credits role is The Green Leaves of Summer, which featured in the Western film The Alamo, released in the 1960s; a much later era than the time in which Inglourious Basterds is set. Tarantinos use of modern music could reflect the theory of bricolage, introduced by Levi Strauss, as the film was constructed through such a creation of work from a diverse range of material. Another notable use of music in Inglourious Basterds is the Cat People sang, famously, by David Bowie in the 1980s, and who recognizably incorporates the notable style and sound of the 80s. This music plats as Shoshanna prepares for the Nazi premiere, yet again manipulating and breaking the rules of representation concerning time, by using music from later eras. These elements contribute to the successful breaking of the rules of representation that Tarantino conducts with Inglourious Basterds. Inglourious Basterds also breaks the rules of representation of time through the use of a fragmented, and occasionally interrupted, narrative similar to that of Holy Motors. For example, chapter two contains a flashback concerning the German basterd, Hugo Stiglitz. Hugos name appears on the screen in a yellow font, suspending the disbelief of the audience, making the viewer realize that they are watching a war film. Along with this text is a sample of Blaxploitation music from the song Slaughter. Such flashbacks are also accompanied by the voice over of Samuel L. Jackson, adding to the suspension of disbelief that the audience experiences through this technique of narrative disjuncture. The fragmented narrative pauses the present time within the film to refer to tangential thoughts, flashbacks, or background knowledge, evidently breaking the representation of time in films as a chronological, linear process. This fragmented narrative, used as a technique to bend the representation of time, is also evident within the film Inception, directed by Christopher Nolan. Instead of reporting events chronologically, Nolan mixes up time reality (a significant postmodern

Sophie Nutt feature of the film) by differing the amount of time that passes in the dream world to the real world. This hyperreal and time bending concept opens the audiences mind into another reality, as there is a constant change in reality and truth. It is clear when watching Inception that Nolan wanted to introduce the views of his postmodernism to his viewers and cause a questioning of our own reality, but he also warns the audience of its consequences, and it is the breaking of rules in representation that allows him to do so. Holy Motors hyperreal stance of a story dedicated to mini-plays means that, the film itself, is a series of fragmented narratives ultimately breaking the representation of time within the narrative. Holy Motors can be seen as a sole performance as it includes intervals throughout, one of which featuring an accordion homage to Let My Baby Ride by R.L. Burnside, suspending the disbelief of the audience and reminding the viewers that the images they see on screen is not reality. Holy Motors points out the metaphysical complications of discerning reality from film, containing plenty of visual allusions to the fakeness of image-making, such as a digital fireplace and Oscars many disguises. Indeed, both Oscar and the audience get lost to the fictional, Carax-created world where reality blurs with cinematic life and traditional ways of filmmaking are simultaneously immediate and obscure. Audiences know that Oscars various performances are all an act, yet the initial death of the character comes as a shock even as he unblinkingly stands right back up to move on to the next scene. Carax further complicates his narrative with the introduction of popstar Kylie Minogues duplicitous character, who in her shared scenes with Oscar make obscure her relationship with him, further breaking the rules of representation concerning characterization and time. Postmodern media also breaks the rules of representation concerning the establishment of genre. Inglourious Basterds locates itself in a decidedly fictional context, beginning with Once upon a time, and structurally progressing through the film via the use of chapters, reminiscent of a fairytale. This fits into the process of addition because an idealistic story is not what the viewer associates with a standard war film. This technique of storytelling also reflects Gerard Genettes idea of hypertextuality; the preceding hypertext of a fairytale modifies what the viewer understands to be a war film. Intertextual references noted throughout Inglourious Basterds also contribute to the hybrid and loose representation of genres within the film. Tarantino features a film within a film, which takes a much more traditional approach as a war film. Although much of the elements conform to the theory of hypertextuality, such as the neatened pile of bodies on the floor, there is also homage paid to Battleship Potemkin in which someone is shot in the eye in a similarly framed shot to that of the 1920s film featuring intertextuality in a film that was being premiered in the midst of WWII. Influenced by past film, ideas, and characters, Tarantino ends up producing a war film constructed by these influences yet again conforming to the theory bricolage. Because of this hazy distinction of genres, it allows Tarantino to break the rules of representation he is not committed to any strict expectation of such representations.

Sophie Nutt However, breaking the rules of representation in postmodern media does not only go as far as filmmaking. Music can also take the form of postmodern media. Kramers theory refers to postmodern music as presenting multiple meaning and multiple temporalities, therefore breaking the rules of representation of genre. Childish Gambino is a product of postmodern hip-hop, drawing influence from MCs like Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, Common, and Talib Kweli. His beats also contain elements of vintage funk, hip-hop, and R&B, while also sampling modern sounds. An example of this is the song Hold You Down from his album Camp, which uses a sample from the Slow Moon theme in the 1992 video game soundtrack for Streets of Rage 2, originally composed by chiptune composer, Yuzo Koshiro. The theory of bricolage is evident here, as Childish Gambino blurs the boundaries of genres and breaks the rules of such representation. To conclude, postmodern media breaks the rules of representation on more than just the surface perception. These broken rules within representations that postmodern media illustrates have been thoroughly exemplified through both theorists and exemplar texts from different sources of postmodern media. However, despite all this, James Rosenau claims that postmodernism criticizes the inconsistency of modernism, but refuses to be held to norms of consistency itself. Amongst these critics, the speculation of postmodern media, and the future of overall postmodernism, does not bode well.