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Related: irony - mockumentary - pastiche - plagiarism - ridicule - rip-off - satire - send-up - spoof

Contrast: originality

It is clear that the world is purely parodic, in other words, that each thing seen is the parody of another, or is the same thing in a deceptive form.

Ever since sentences started to circulate in brains devoted to reflection, an effort at total identification has been made, because with the aid of a copula each sentence ties one thing to another; all things would be visibly connected if one could discover at a single glance and in its totality the tracings of Ariadne's thread leading thought into its own labyrinth. -- Georges Bataille via "Visions of Excess Selected Writings, 1927-1939"

Piranha (1978) - Joe Dante [Amazon.com]
Piranha is a parody of Jaws.


In contemporary usage, parody is a form of satire that imitates another work of art in order to ridicule it. It can also be used to poke affectionate fun at the work in question. Parody exists in all art media, including literature, music, and cinema. Cultural movements can also be parodied. Such works are also sometimes colloquially referred to as spoofs. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parody

Genre theory [...]

Some genre film theorists see parody as a natural development in the life cycle of any genre, especially in film. Western movies, for example, after the classic stage defined the conventions of the genre, underwent a parody stage, in which those same conventions were lampooned. Because audiences had seen these classic Westerns, they had expectations for any new Westerns, and when these expectations were inverted, the audience laughed. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parody [Mar 2005]

Parody and pastiche in crime fiction

In addition to the kind of humour that pervades practically all genre novels, parody and pastiche have had a long tradition within the field of crime fiction. (A pastiche is a piece of writing in which the style is copied from someone or something else, in particular one which contains a mixture of different styles.) Shortly after Conan Doyle had published his first stories, Sherlock Holmes spoofs appeared. Similarly, there have been innumerable Agatha Christie send-ups. The idea is always to exaggerate and mock the most noticeable features of the original and, by doing so, amuse especially those readers who are also familiar with that original. --http://en2.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_fiction

Parody, Pastiche and the Postmodern

Parody and pastiche of crime film conventions are also, of course, much more pervasive than this. Richard Martin, in Mean Streets and Raging Bulls, argues that, from the 80s on, the mainstream market has seen a growing tendency towards generic formularization and an attendant self-awareness – a phenomenon symptomatic of a cultural shift towards a postmodern preoccupation with style, surface, self-referentiality and playfulness. Generic knowingness and liberal borrowing (ranging from ‘homage’ to parody) have characterised the work of many of the best contemporary film-makers: the Coen brothers (in Blood Simple, Fargo, The Big Lebowski, The Man Who Wasn’t There) have played in dazzling ways with the character types, plots and images originally associated with Hammett, Chandler and James M. Cain; Tarantino’s films (Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown) have been highly distinctive reworkings of the formulas and materials of earlier crime films; amongst David Mamet’s films, we have his take on psychological suspense films in The House of Games, the Hitchcockian Spanish Prisoner, and his journey through the double- and triple-crossing streets of film noir in Heist.

The last decade alone has produced dozens of other films that play with the conventions established in the first half-century of crime films – for example, The Last Seduction (John Dahl, 1994), Serial Mom (John Waters, 1994), Get Shorty (Barry Sonnenfeld, 1995), Bound (the Wachowski brothers, 1996), The Long Kiss Goodnight (Renny Harlin, 1996), Palmetto (Volker Schlondorff, 1998), Wild Things (John McNaughton, 1998), Goodbye Lover (Roland Joffe, 1999), Drowning Mona (Nick Gomez, 2000), Nurse Betty (Neil LaBute, 2000), One Night at McCool’s (Harald Zwart, 2001). --http://www.crimeculture.com/Contents/Parodies.html [Dec 2004]

Film noir parody

  1. Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (1982) - Carl Reiner [Amazon.com]
    Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid was a movie first released in 1982 directed by Carl Reiner and featuring the inimitable talents of comedian Steve Martin. It is both a pastiche and act of homage to film noir, the pulp-fiction detective movies of a bygone age.

    The film's concept is an interesting one in that it is largely comprised of a collage effect of old black and white movie clips from films of the 1940s and 1950s with more recent footage of Martin and other actors (including Carl Reiner, Rachel Ward, and Reni Santoni) similarly shot in black and white. In many ways the construction of the film anticipates the later Oscar winning movie, Forrest Gump. --Wikipedia, Oct 2003

A Theory of Parody: The Teachings of Twentieth-Century Art Forms (2001) - Linda Hutcheon

  1. A Theory of Parody: The Teachings of Twentieth-Century Art Forms (2001) - Linda Hutcheon [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    See entry for Linda Hutcheon

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