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course information

course readings

essay questions

Choose one of the following and answer in a 5-6 page essay:


~1~  Discuss Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs as an homage to Ringo Lam's City on Fire. What are some of the similarities between the

        two films, and how do they function as postmodern pastiche?


~2~  Compare Django Unchained with Sergio Leone's The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. How does the film exhibit the

        characteristics of Leone's films, as identified by Marcia Landy (folklore, filmic tradition, space for action, critique of power)?

        What are the greater implications of these parallels in terms of postmodernism and contemporary American culture?


~3~  What is the effect of the excessive violence in Kill Bill Vols. I & II? What is the allure of violence in Tarantino's films, and how

        does this reflect postmodern cultural values?


~4~  How does Tarantino address the notion of history in his films? Discuss Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained as films

        that re-write history to comment on the current postmodern condition. How do these two films actively question the “grand

        narrative” of popular Hollywood cinema?


~5~  Discuss Pulp Fiction as an example of postmodern cinema. How does the film exhibit the characteristics of postmodernity?

        Talk specifically about how the film ties to the postmodern in terms of its multiplicity, intertextuality, bricolage, reflexivity,

        and the breakdown between high and low culture.


"Note on the Meaning of the Word 'Post' and Answering the Question 'What is Postmodernism?'" by Jean Francois Lyotard.

               Continental Aesthetics: Romanticism to Postmodernism. Eds., Richard Kearney and David Rasmussen. Blackwell:

               Oxford, 2001.


"Little Q." Quentin Tarantino: The Man and His Movies, by Jami Bernard. Siegel & Siegel: New York, 1995.


"He Went Thataway: The Form and Style of Leone's Italian Westerns," by Marcia Landy. The Western Reader. Eds., Jim Kitses

               and Gregg Rickman. Limelight: New York, 1999.


"Video Archives." Quentin Tarantino: The Man and His Movies, by Jami Bernard. Siegel & Siegel: New York, 1995.


"Violence in Film," by William Rothman. Violence and American Cinema. Ed., J. David Slocum. Routledge: New York, 2001.


"Tarantino's Films: What Are They About and What Can We Learn From Them," by Bruce Russell. Quentin Tarantino and

               Philosophy. Eds., Richard Greene and K. Silem Mohammad. Open Court: Illinois, 2007.


"The Mantelpiece." Quentin Tarantin: The Cinema of Cool, by Jeff Dawson. Applause: New York, 1995.


"History Is Always Virgin: Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds and the Lyotardian Sublime," by Marco Grosoli. Terror and

               the Cinematic Sublime: Essays on Violence and the Unpresentable in Post-9/11 Films. Eds., Todd A. Comer and Lloyd

               IssacVayo. McFarland & Company: North Carolina, 2013.


"Independent Auteurism: From Modern Existentialism to Postmodernism as Nostalgia." Cinema & Culture, by E. Deidre Pribram.

               Peter Lang: New York, 2002.


"A Sword of Righteousness: Kill Bill and the Ethics ov Vengeance," by Timothy Dean Roth. Quentin Tarantino and Philosophy.

               Eds., Richard Greene and K. Silem Mohammad. Open Court: Illinois, 2007.

adam p. wadenius