Wednesday, 22 September 2010


First identified by French film enthusiasts, Film Noir earns its name by virtue of both its shadowy visual style and its pessimistic themes; basically meaning "black film"! Though it has a French name, the first of the noirs were created in America, in the early 1940s. However, during this time World War II was still effecting the media in the sense of which Hollywood was unable to send the films made over to Europe so there were little viewings. Not only did the war effect the viewers, it effected the production of the films; Eastern Europeans fled for their lives, many of them involved in the film industry would head towards Hollywood and these people were the ones to create some of the best Noir Film as the threat of the Nazi's during this shadowy time reflected the feelings of depression and pessimism which indirectly contributed to evolving Noir into what it is now. Not only did they bring the mood of darkness to these films, but as they were from Eastern Europe they also brought over different cinematic techniques which lead to German Expressionism; heavy stylised sets with use of a lot of light and shadows.
As many of the jobs were left empty during the war, it was down to the women to take over their place in the workplace; the start of the reason why female characters in Noir are often conveyed as powerful and dangerous. This is because when the men came back from the war, the women who had been working did not want to go back to their household chores; they had found a new lease on life and continued working. Being a huge social lift, the men started to feel slightly threatened by these new strong liberated women. Once the war ended in 1946, these films flooded France all at once, causing French critic Nino Frank to realise that all these films had something in common; similar dark undertones with identical conventions. Since then, these films have their own genre of Noir.

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