Literary:film analysis

Literary:film analysis - Cultural Foundations III...

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Cultural Foundations III Literary/Film Analysis Fragmentation is an important aspect of Postmodernism. A whole and entire phenomenon on its own, Postmodernism is associated with the period post World War II. The postmodernist movement began in the field of architecture but spread to art, literature, cinema, culture and philosophy in no time. According to writer James Morley, postmodernism seeks to maintain elements of modern utility while returning to classical forms of the past. He describes it as an “ironic brick-a-brack or collage approach to construction that combines several tradition styles into one structure.” 1 Fragmentation can be defined, in the most literal sense, as the “process or state of breaking or being broken into fragments.” 2 In fields of postmodern artwork, it signifies the breaking rather building up of information, to form a structure that would convey a hidden message rather than the obvious message to its audience. French philosopher Jean-Francis Loytard described it as “a crisis in ideology when ideology no longer seems transparent.” 3 Two pieces of work from two different media that can be used to exhibit fragmentation are James Baldwin’s novel, Giovanni’s Room (1956) and Ingmar Bergman’s film, Wild Strawberries (1957). In Giovanni’s Room, Baldwin narrates the story of a man with a troubled past and an indecisive present as he struggles to make up his mind between his ideal lover and true lover. While he is engaged to Hella, his fiancé, who would provide him with a normal and conventional lifestyle with a family and children, he is actually in love with Giovanni, an 1 The Electric Labrynth; “Postmodern Culture”; http://www2.iath.virginia.edu/elab/hfl0242.html 2 Oxford Dictionary Online; http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/fragmentation? view=uk 3 Loytard, Jean-Francis; “The Post-modern Condition: A Report on Knowledge”; http://www9.georgetown.edu/faculty/irvinem/theory/pomo.html
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Italian bartender he meets in Paris. Giovanni not only makes David, the protagonist, question his own sexual orientation but also what he wants from life. David tells his story in two parts by fragmenting his narration, rather than following a sequential line of events. Baldwin reveals the end of the story as soon as it begins. He writes, “And Giovanni would not be about to perish sometimes between this night and this morning, on the guillotine.” 4 Thus, as readers, we already know that this is not a happy ending, and the story bears negative consequences. David, the protagonist, goes back into his past, to provide his readers with a brief insight into his first sexual encounter with a boy named Joey. He expounds his experience and his treatment toward Joey rather objectively. The viewers realize soon enough that David is, in fact, quite selfish and incapable of loving anyone but himself. While he seems to enjoy the initial thrills of flirting and lusting, he is barely brave enough to continue a relationship
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2012 for the course CULTURAL F 0103 taught by Professor Packard during the Spring '11 term at NYU.

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Literary:film analysis - Cultural Foundations III...

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