Postmodernism is defined as an attitude of skepticism, irony or hyperreality and abandonment of conventional ideas of originality to favour pastiche styles. Many movies today depict the themes and characteristics of postmodernism, as directors are constantly seeking to engage the audience, in addition to achieving critical acclaim. The films, “Stranger than Fiction” directed by Forster, M. (2006) and “Worker Drone” by Raju, S. (2010) can both identify as being postmodern not only in its entirety, but also the various elements within the film that were presented. Both these films contained examples of intertextuality and ambiguous endings as well as creating a sense of paranoia throughout. These three themes excellently portray these elements of postmodernism, despite the fact that one may recognize themes like absurdism and allusions that suggest they may be existential or modern.
Throughout both films, there were obvious indications that suggested paranoia. In “Stranger than Fiction” the protagonist , Harold, follows a monotonous schedule each day; counting his tooth brush strokes, stairs he climbs and tiles in the bathroom. He inexplicably begins hearing a voice of a woman in his head, narrating his life, this is an excellent use of the postmodern element of suspension of belief. His colleagues, feeling he is a bit mentally unstable, suggests that he takes some time off and see a psychiatrist, during which time he learns from the narrator that he is going to die. The narrator or antagonist, Karen, became paranoid when faced with writer’s block and having her publishers fear that she may not deliver her new book on time. Likewise, in “Worker Drone”, the characters Rahul and Armar find themselves in a video game Planet Dogstar and questions whether or not the game might be real. They also fear that they may lose their jobs and believe they are being monitored by nano chips implanted in their brains.
Inter- texting theme, which depicted reality within reality were used in both “Stranger than Fiction” and “Workers Drone”. This was apparent in “Stranger than Fiction”, when Harold talks to himself in the mirror and he is given the opportunity to read the manuscript of his life, all of which occurs during the film. In “Workers Drone”, examples of this theme is seen when Rahul video messages his girlfriend in the film and the use of the Planet Dogstar commercial played as a video, all of which represents postmodern themes.
In both films the endings are left intentionally ambiguous. In “Stranger than Fiction”, the narrator is constantly looking for inspiration to kill Harold, only to rewrite the ending which detracts from the aim to kill Harold. The director also places various characters; the boy learning to ride a bike and the unemployed lady looking for a job, with no real purpose throughout the film except towards the end. Similarly, in “Workers Drone”, the audience was left to wonder or allowed to create their own interpretation of; What happened to Rahul? Was Armar really sick? Did Rahul tell anyone else what really happened and does the war end?
One might argue that “Stranger than Fiction” could be have been considered existentialist as Harold appears to live a meaningless life until his death is predicted by the narrator who assumes the role of God, and “Worker Drone” could be classified as modernism through the use of allusions, where Rahul and Kiran, constantly exchange glances that may indicate some rivalry and tension between them. This, however does not support my view that they were both postmodern films and in conclusion, I believe that intertextuality, paranoia and ambiguous ending were the most common themes and characteristics revealed in both films and stood out as postmodernist films.