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Unformatted text preview: Film Noir Not a Genre? Not defined by conventions of setting and conflict Instead... Defined by more subtle qualities of tone and mood It is a specific period of film history. 40's and early 50's Catalysts for Noir: War and postwar disillusionment Postwar realism The German Influence The hard boiled tradition Foreign and Domestic Roots Hard boiled novel Gangster Film French Poetic Realism German Expressionism Postwar disillusionment--life as it is Dark, cynical, nihilistic Distorted camera angles, mastering of chiaroscuro Phases of Noir
1) 2) Wartime period (194146) Postwar realistic period (194549) Phase of the private eye and the lone wolf Problems of crime in the streets, political corruption, and police routine 3) Psychotic action and suicidal impulse period (1949'53) Personal disintegration of the noir hero Overriding theme
"A passion for the past and present, but also a fear of the future" Emphasize loss, nostalgia, lack of clear priorities, insecurity Recurring techniques Scenes are lit for night Oblique and vertical lines preferred to horizontal ones (Wideangle lens) Unstable environment Actors and characters given equal lighting emphasis Compositional tension preferred to physical tension Infinity for water Romantic narration Complex chronological order Recurring Themes Cont'd Acting and Character traits Noir heroes: Urban cop, private eye, black widow, John Doe American, newspaper man, good cop/bad cop Dark side of characters. I.e. Femme Fatale Appearance of woman becomes more mysterious, dangerous Degradation of character: impulse, psychotic action Dialogue is very dramatic, but nonchalant, glib, quick, witty MiseenScene Meant to disorient viewer in accordance with disorientation of hero Odd framing Claustrophobia via oddly placed doors, windows, stairs, etc... Frame portraits, reflection of character in mirror-- symbolism Lighting Lowkey lighting Ratio of key to fill light is great Creates distinct, jet black shadows Nightfornight as opposed to dayfor night Artificial lighting Effect: high contrast Double Indemnity (Billy Wilder, 1944) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnRWYZYbsY Reasons for its end in the mid '50's Americans wanted to see themselves in a more bourgeois light A new style of crime films had become popular The advent of color cinematography NeoNoir Recent Film Noir: L.A. Confidential (Curtis Hanson, 1997) Sin City (Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino, 2005) Brick (Rian Johnson, 2005) Certain conventions are being renewed, others are not Able to shoot film in color The End ...
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- Spring '07