What are Pastiche Films?

What are Pastiche Films?

Pastiche films represent a particular form of motion picture in which the cinematographer is mimicking the work of a prior filmmaker, but what are pastiche films, exactly? Pastiche represents a technique in which a filmmaker pays homage to another filmmaker’s style by mimicking the work through the use of distinct cinematography techniques. The influence of pastiche comes from past literary works and has been part of the motion picture industry for several years. The bottom line, pastiche films represent a means of cinematographers stealing the work of others and recreating it in very distinct ways.

What are Pastiche Films?

Pastiche films can be defined as a particular work of filmmaking art in which the style is copied by another filmmaker or artist. Pastiche in film is described as a cinematic device in which a filmmaker honors another filmmaker or the cinematographer of another artist by paying homage to the artist through the production of specific scenes or iconic moments that are essentially copied from the previous artist’s work.

Pastiche films are sometimes a reboot of a prior film or they may just represent a few scenes that are drawn from a past film. Either option is acceptable and potential in a pastiche film. In the words of a past filmmaker, “Good artists copy, great artists steal.” Thus, referring to pastiche films in which the very specific elements that a filmmaker loved from a past filmmaker are what they copy or steal for their own to pay homage.

When producing a pastiche film, the cinematographer might copy camera angles, lighting, or mise en scene in order to directly relate to the past work of the prior artist. Pastiche films are frequently based on the works of other film writers, particularly in the case of historical films and documentaries. However, we’ve also seen the works of non-fiction drama, comedy and horror also be recreated as a pastiche. 

Pastiche Films from the Past

Wondering what films have actually be a pastiche from the past? There are a number of famous films and many that are less than famous, which either are entirely the result of pastiche or that include moments or scenes that represent a pastiche. These films include:

  • Shaun of the Dead
  • Monsters vs Aliens
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
  • Show within a Show
  • City or Heroes
  • I Wanna Be the Guy

Quentin Tarantino On Pastiche Films

Pastiche is something that happens to be so popular in filmmaking that we’ve even heard famous Directors opening admit that they steal the work of others. In fact, According to Quentin Tarantino, virtually every film he’s made is a pastiche of some other film, though it may not notably be mentioned. 

Tarantino openly admitted on more than one occasion that, “I steal from every single movie ever made.” The reality is, pastiche films are the direct result of Directors and cinematographers watching the films and then openly learning from and recreating elements of the film works that are most profound to them. While all pastiche films are the direct result of a cinematographer learning from and recreating the works of other cinematographers, few are as willing to openly admit that they outright copy every major work they can the way Quentin Tarantino did.

BBP Cinematographer

Why is Pastiche in Films Popular?

You might be wondering what it is that makes the idea of copying someone else’s techniques so popular? What is it that makes pastiche films something that instead of being viewed as plagiarism it’s seen as a homage to the prior artist’s work?

The reality is, pastiche films are a lot like parody films, except that the pastiche film will imitate several different works whereas the parody will just imitate one or two particular works of art. In fact, both the pastiche and the parody are popular because people find the connections and the mixed emphasis on various elements of a work to be humorous, interesting and engaging.

If you’re wondering why a pastiche film is popular, it’s most likely because filmmakers are always looking for ways that they can embrace new techniques and drive audience interaction and engagement. By using the pastiche to mimic and pay homage to a past work, not only does it draw the attention of the audience that will recall exactly what that work was, but it also creates an entirely new audience that appreciates the work of the most recent filmmaker.

So, what are pastiche films and what makes the pastiche so popular? Pastiche films represents an artists homage to another artists cinematography work. They emphasize very specific elements, such as scenes, shots, and techniques that a previous artist was successful with while sometimes downplaying other elements in the hope of coming u with something that imitates the genre or specific body of work in a way that an old, and new, audience will engage. They’re popular because they’re almost always the result of many great works coming together as one. 

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