27 Sep 2010

How Postmodernism Relates to Kill Bill Vol.1

Quentin Tarantino, director of Pulp Fiction (1994) created another debatable film in 2003.

The film’s story is about a bride, who wakes up after a 4 year coma. She was crudely beaten by a group of people. As bad as it may look already, she was also pregnant but now the baby was gone. Subsequently she looks for revenge to the people who participated in the execution.

The story appears to be quit simplistic. But this is the first indicator of postmodern art work. Quentin Tarantino’s films are linked with postmodernism by many film reviewers.

So to introduce postmodernism, it is term defining the times from 1960s. As the author of ‘As Time Just Sits there’ defines, It’s a product of the occurring (and not radical) effect of a number of continuous historical processes connected with gradual globalization of capital and increasing invasion of consumerist practices. Postmodernism is a result of gradual change in man’s lifestyle (particularly the amount of information we are available to get today, the freedom of choice of experiences one prefers having ect.)

To buletpoint main characteristics of Postmodernism:

It’s a culture of fragmentary sensations. As Donald Barthelme, author of postmodernist fiction, notes this is simply the essence of art in the modern world, where the ultimate apotheosis (idolization) is collage and fragments are the only truly trustworthy form.

Eclectic (selective best peaces of styles/methods/ideas) Nostalgia, postmodern nostalgia, which is different from past nostalgias, as the author of ‘As time just sits there’ mentioned book notes, for it misses not the past but its culture. Nostalgia is eveident in the modern works which reference past times.

Promiscuous superficiality.

Postmodernist greets the absurd and favours ‘depthless’ fabulations (lies and stories),
Pastiche (art work made from different sources)
Bricolage (something made together using whatever materials were available)

Many of that mentioned above is evident in Kill Bill Vol. 1 :

It’s a nostalgic, fragmentary film. ‘Kill Bill makes no secret of the fact that this is a film that is informed by much of what has gone before’ (Hyde, Chris)

He references past times, a variety of cultures and puts it all in discontinuous time order.

Tarantino takes bits and peaces from cinematic canon and mixes them up. Film reviewer Chris Hyde names few of the things the director most likely referenced.For example, Film Lady Snowblood,(Fujita, Toshiya;1973) (“A young girl is born and raised to be an instrument of revenge”) could have influenced the creation of O-ren Ishii, character in Kill Bill Vol. 1. Thriller: A Cruel Picture (Vibenius, Bo Arne; 1974) , for the one-eyed killer Elle Driver. And other films, like Modesty Blaise (Losey, Joseph;1966), Black Sunday (Frankenheimer, John;1977); Five Deadly Venoms (Chang, Cheh; 1978) and many more. Cinematic reworking is evident in all Tarantino’s films.

But at the same time the film’s he create aren’t perceived as mere collage of various styles and cultural references, but as a great representation of current era – postmodernism and as Boxoffice prophets (boxofficeprophets.com/hyde/killbill.asp) reviewer concludes, Kill Bill is utterly representative of the zeitgeist (the spirit of the time; general trend of thought or feeling characteristic of a particular period of time) of the current era.

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