Evolution of Film Noir…

Film Noir

  • Recovering from war period 40/50’s
  • Black and white
  • Use of chiaroscuro
  • Typical detective character

Neo- Noir

  • Shot in colour, due to progression in technology
  • Modernized the qualities of classic Film Noir characteristics

Evolution of Film Noir

Neo Noir is a style often seen in modern motion pictures and other forms that commonly use elements of Film Noir  but with updated themes, content, style, visual elements or media that were absent in Films Noir of the 1940s and 1950s.

The classic era of Film Noir is usually dated to a period between the early 1940s and the late 1950s. Typically American crime dramas or psychological thrillers, Films Noir had a number of common themes and plot devices, and many distinctive visual elements. Characters were often conflicted anti-heroes Visual elements included low-key lighting, striking use of light and shadow, and unusual camera placement.

Features of a classic Film Noir film include; private detective as protagonist/anti hero, femme fatale, flashbacks, voiceover narration, shadows, fatalistic ending

However Neo-Noirs take features from Film Noir and modernize them an example would be Batman Begins as it takes the dark pessimistic theme of classic Film Noir and use modern qualities such as colour to make a Neo-Noir.

There are other examples of Film Noir some less commonly known than others, these include;  Psycho Noir such as ‘The machinist’ and ‘fight club’ Sci-fi Noir such as ‘Donnie Darko’ and ‘Inception’ Stoner Noir such as ‘Pulp fiction’ and ‘Big Lebowski’ Noir comedies such as ‘Fatal Instinct’  and ‘The big white’ Noir Westerns such as ‘Welcome to hard times’ and ‘High Plains Drifter’ 

Film Noir has evolved dramatically over time and has changes the qualities from the classic Film Noir. It has modern qualities but seem to maintain some of the original themes and ideas, such as; The male character seduced by the female, The dutiful and the beautiful women, Femme fatale, a plot twist with a fatalistic ending, a dark pessimistic tone with a  feeling of despair, a morally questionable ‘hero’ and violent criminal actions.

I made this piece of work to show how film noir has evolved and what features we can use in our film.


One response to “Evolution of Film Noir…

  • A. Morris

    A good overview Harriet. Don’t forget to present your research using web 2.0 tools. Use screen shots from some of your films to highlight stylistic and other features. Quote your sources where you can.

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