Clueless

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    Characters in Clueless # We must remember that **character creation **is a construct; an artefact and central ones do not necessarily represent the author. Characters are either portrayed sympathetically or unsympathetically. The former are called protagonists, heroes or good guys while the latter are antagonists, villains or bad guys. Sometimes main characters are picaresque – likeable but harmless rogues, larrikins or scoundrels –“loveable rogues”. Martin Amis points out that over two millennia humans first told stories of Gods, then Kings, then Epic Heroes, then ordinary people , then anti-heroes, then villains, then demons and finally themselves.

    Cinematic Techniques: #  Film uses subtext to communicate often subconsciously with the audience. Everything on the screen talks to us and language suddenly becomes secondary to visual and auditory spectacle. We need to be aware of how our emotions are being subtly manipulated,  Satire and dramatic ironies abound as both Heckerling and Austen portray indulged, self-deluded manipulators. Cher’s voice-over is frequently at odds with what is depicted on the silver screen and we are expected to take her conclusions with a large dose of salt:

    Context and Background #  Clueless is set in the fast-paced and pulsating town of Beverly Hills, Los Angeles in the late 20^(th) century, Cher’s home represents the epicentre and epitome of consumerism and pop culture – the home of Hollywood, the Mecca of fantasists. Cher lives up in the hills and is contemptuous of people who live in the Valley. In many ways her exclusive world is as narrow and insular as Emma’s Highbury.

    Evaluation: # Initially Clueless was considered just another vacuous Teenpix with a limited lifespan, however its appropriations of Austen’s Emma, gave it sustenance and developed its cult following and a status as a worthy text. Clueless is a feisty chick flick lit that can stand on its own merits as a well constructed lasting text. Though it appropriates much from Emma it updates and enhances the concerns, situations to universalise them and provides an access to the original text motivating young people to read and find relevance in it.

    Clueless #  Clueless is the 1995 creation of Amy Heckerling as an appropriation of the plot of Jane Austen’s novel Emma. Heckerling does a magnificent performance of bringing Emma back to life in 20^(th) Century America.  Heckerling was cashing in on a major revival of Austen in the mid 1990s as about five different adaptations of Austen’s novels were released within a two year period.  Initially Clueless was considered just another vacuous Teenpix with a limited lifespan, however its appropriations of Austen’s Emma, gave it sustenance and developed its cult following and a status as a worthy text.

    Issues, Concerns, Themes, Values #  **Egalitarian vs Heirarchialism ** Subversive transformation occurs where the source text is undercut by an opposing value. Does Clueless subvert Emma ?  Cher purports the need to preserve America as a tolerant, diverse, inclusive and pluralistic society.  Cher: So like, right now for example. The Haitians need to come to America. But some people are all, “What about the strain on our resources?

    Style and Language #  The language is designed to appeal to young people. so it is: casual, informal, intimate  Short cellular phone messages – Cher and Dionne walking down the same corridor conduct a discussion about their respective grades on their cell phones.  Speeches – casual, clichéd, grammatically challenged  Sentences - truncated, ellipsis, gibberish? Slang – secret argot: “scheming Betties, persistent Barneys, loser loadies, go postal, total baldwins