Cinema of Simulation: Hyperreal Hollywood in the Long 1990s


Cinema of Simulation: Hyperreal Hollywood in the Long 1990s



Hyperreality is an Alice-in-Wonderland dimension where copies have no originals, simulation is more real than reality, and living dreams undermine the barriers between imagination and objective experience. The most prominent philosopher of the hyperreal, Jean Baudrillard, formulated his concept of hyperreality throughout the 1980s, but it was not until the 1990s that the end of the Cold War, along with the proliferation of new reality-bending technologies, made hyperreality seem to come true. In the “lost decade” between the fall of the Berlin Wall and 9/11, the nature of reality itself became a source of uncertainty, a psychic condition that has been recognizably recorded by that seismograph of American consciousness, Hollywood cinema.

The auteur cinema of the 1970s aimed for gritty realism, and the most prominent feature of Reagan-era cinema was its fantastic unrealism. Clinton-era cinema, however, is characterized by a prevailing mood of hyperrealism, communicated in various ways by such benchmark films as JFK, Pulp Fiction, and The Matrix. The hyperreal cinema of the 1990s conceives of the movie screen as neither a window on a preexisting social reality (realism), nor as a wormhole into a fantastic dream-dimension (escapism), but as an arena in which images and reality exchange masks, blend into one another, and challenge the philosophical premises which differentiate them from one another. Cinema of Simulation: Hyperreal Hollywood in the Long 1990s provides a guided tour through the anxieties and fantasies, reciprocally social and cinematic, which characterize the surreal territory of the hyperreal. ~ From the Publisher



Publication Date



Bloomsbury Publishing


New York


film theory and criticism, Jean Baudrillard, Hyperreality, mutational reality, realism in motion pictures


Arts and Humanities | English Language and Literature | Film and Media Studies | Philosophy | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Television


Table of Contents:

-- Introduction: The Hyperreal Theme in 1990s American Cinema

Chapter 1. Back to the Future as Baudrillardian Parable

Chapter 2. The Alien films and Baudrillard's Phases of Simulation

Chapter 3. The Hyperrealization of Arnold Schwarzenegger

Chapter 4. Oliver Stone's Hyperreal Period

Chapter 5. Bill Clinton Goes to the Movies

Chapter 6. Tarantino's Pulp Fiction and Baudrillard's Perfect Crime

Chapter 7. Recursive Self-Reflection in The Player

Chapter 8. Revisiting Baudrillard and The Matrix by Way of the "Real 1999"

Chapter 9. Reality / Television: The Truman Show

Chapter 10. Recombinant Reality in Jurassic Park

Chapter 11. The Brad / Tyler Paradox in Fight Club

Chapter 12. Shakespeare in the 1990s

Chapter 13. Ambiguous Origins in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

Chapter 14. Looking for the Real: Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan, and Titanic

Chapter 15. That's Cryotainment! Postmortem Cinema in the Long 1990s


Cinema of Simulation: Hyperreal Hollywood in the Long 1990s