Tuesday, 5 October 2010


Film Noir has developed certain codes and conventions, defining it as a genre. The primary moods of classic Noir were melancholy, bleakness, evil, moral corruption, guilt, paranoia, desperation and so on.
Stories were often elliptical, twisting and non-linear. It begins with the ending scene and throughout the film it will gradually make the viewer realise why that film had ended in the way it did. The narratives were constantly complex and convoluted, using a series of flashbacks and voice-over narration. Amnesia suffered by the protagonist was a common plot device aswell as the downfall of an innocent everyman, becoming victim to temptation or was framed.
Cinematography played a big part in creating the greatest Noir films through use of deep-focus or depth of field camera work, lighting, disorientating visual schemes, skewed camera angles making the viewer feel rather uneasy as it is not a point of view they are used to. Settings often made use of venetian-blinded windows and rooms had dark, claustrophobic apperances. Exteriors often consisted of the urban night scenes with deep shadows, with rain and damp streets, dark alleyways and low key lighting.
In every Noir, there will be the well known characters; The private eye, detectives, gangsters, millionaires, henchman, corrupt police and beautiful women, one being the femme fetale. They are mysterious, unreliable, irresponsible yet gorgeous and manipulative. These females were dangerous, and usually anyone associated with them will end up murdered, hurt or will have lost something or someone. The femme fetale would lead the struggling, doomed hero into commiting some form of crime, and would corrupt them into falling in love. On some occasions the femme fetale would make the hero feel in control, as if he knew what he was doing; in the end only reaslising he was trapped in her power.  However, the hero would not be the only one in this downfall; the femme fetal may not come out alive either.

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