Secret Agency in Mainstream Postmodern Cinema

  title={Secret Agency in Mainstream Postmodern Cinema},
  author={Neal King},
  journal={Postmodern Culture},
  pages={ - }
  • N. King
  • Published 31 March 2009
  • Art
  • Postmodern Culture
A set of English-language feature films, mostly released at the turn of the century, offer protagonists who do not know that they are spies. Scholars have suggested that such culture can be postmodern in theme, in clarity, and in production at the same time. But this essay shows that these films hew to norms of classical narrative and have been used to shore up a modernist sense of authorship. They follow on Jameson’s influential formulation of a postmodern aesthetic, using surreal film style… 




In an era when the institutional agenda of contemporary Hollywood cinema is increasingly dependent on policies of textual recycling (sequels, remakes, adaptations), it is nonetheless noticeable that

Blade Runner and the Postmodern: A Reconsideration

The ambivalence implicit in the two versions of Ridley Scott's Blade Runner (1982; "Director's Cut," 1992) echoes the diverse and divided critical responses to the film(s). Indeed, this film about


The present paper critically examines recent contributions to the concept of the unreliable narrator in film narrative theory. It takes issue with the latest tendency to unnecessarily widen the scope

Directors on Adaptation: A Conversation with Richard Linklater

When thinking of the sensibility of director Richard Linklater, it's almost impossible not to invoke his first major feature, Slacker (1991). The meandering conversations, the marginal characters,

Transparency and Twist in Narrative Fiction Film

One of the characteristic marks of classical narrative films is that their audio/visual narration is, in a certain sense, transparent.1 Very roughly, this means that (1) most of the shots in these

Storytelling in the New Hollywood: Understanding Classical Narrative Technique

Preface 1. Modern Classicism 2. Tootsie 3. Back to the Future 4. The Silence of the Lambs 5. Groundhog Day 6. Desperately Seeking Susan 7. Amadeus 8. The Hunt for Red October 9. Parenthood 10. Alien

Puzzle films : complex storytelling in contemporary cinema

Introduction: Puzzle Plots: Warren Buckland. 1. The Mind-Game Film: Thomas Elsaesser. 2. Making Sense of Lost Highway : Warren Buckland. 3. "Twist Blindness:" The Role of Primacy, Priming, Schemas,

Role as Resource in the Hollywood Film Industry

The theoretical concept of role as resource is introduced and illustrated. The concept combines critical elements of the structural, interactionist, and network approaches to role. A role is a

Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism

Now in paperback, Fredric Jameson’s most wide-ranging work seeks to crystalize a definition of ”postmodernism”. Jameson’s inquiry looks at the postmodern across a wide landscape, from “high” art to

The Classical Hollywood Cinema: Film Style & Mode of Production to 1960

Part 1. The classical Hollywood style, 1917-60 by David Bordwell An excessively obvious cinemaStory causality and motivationThe Hollywood mode of production to 1930, by Janet StaigerClassical