Keyword Analysis & Research: film noir motifs


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What is film noir style?

FILM NOIR DEFINITION What is film noir? Film noir is a style or genre of films made in Hollywood in the '40s and '50s that have stylistic and thematic similarities. Specifically, tales of crime and moral ambiguity shot in black & white with high contrast lighting (bright lights and deep black shadows).

What are some common plot elements in noir films?

False suspicions and accusations of crime are frequent plot elements, as are betrayals and double-crosses. According to J. David Slocum, "protagonists assume the literal identities of dead men in nearly fifteen percent of all noir." Amnesia is fairly epidemic—"noir's version of the common cold", in the words of film historian Lee Server.

What influenced American film noir?

Its visual intricacy and complex, voiceover narrative structure are echoed in dozens of classic film noirs. Italian neorealism of the 1940s, with its emphasis on quasi-documentary authenticity, was an acknowledged influence on trends that emerged in American noir.

Why is noir not a genre?

Because of the diversity of noir (much greater than that of the screwball comedy), certain scholars in the field, such as film historian Thomas Schatz, treat it as not a genre but a "style".


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