The term ‘postmodernism’ is a broad and multi-faceted notion that deals with the nature of contemporary Western society and culture. All types of Western art, including film, might be seen to have adapted to the postmodern, which in turn is considered to be a reaction to ideas inherent in Modernism. For example, postmodernism is defined by Charles Jencks as ‘both the continuation of Modernism and its transcendence’ (Jencks, 1995: 27), suggesting that postmodernism is not an original movement; rather it is the reworking of Modernist features by postmodern artists in the attempt to create something new. To explore the concept of postmodernism, I use Tim Burton’s film Big Fish (2003), examining it with reference to Jean Baudrillard’s theory of hyperreality, a common theme found in many postmodernist films.
Baudrillard is a key theorist in exploring the idea of hyperreality in postmodern society. Baudrillard claims that an image transcends from a reflection of basic reality until finally, ‘it bears no relation to reality whatever: it is its own pure simulacrum’ (Baudrillard, 1998: 173). Baudrillard’s successive phases of the image reflect the transition from what we considered ‘real’ to the simulated reality inevitable in the postmodern world….
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