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Conventions of film noir
What is film noir? Film noir is a French term meaning ‘blackfilm’, or film of the night. Film noir was inspiredfrom a line of cheap paper backs that translated into hard-boiled American crime authors and found a popular audience in France.
Conventions of film noir Black and white Film noir is often filmed in black and white because It mainly is used to emphases certain parts for example shadows. Also thecolours black and white have several connotations. For example black often connotes death. Death is often a key theme in filmnoir therefore the black and white highlights this. Also the use ofblack and white represents the feelings of the main characters as they often suffer from such things as depression.
Conventions of film noir SettingOften the movies are set in citys that contain several dark alleys and tall buildings. The use of things like alleys help emphasise the shadows and give a sense of mystery because you do not know what could be hiding in the shadows, giving a sense of danger. Also the use of tall buildings give a sense of isolation around the main male character who often have several flaws, The idea that he is alone in a city full of people helps to stress his loneliness and flaws.
Conventions of film noir LightingChiaroscuro is often the word related to the lighting used in filmnoir. It is a combination of two Italian words meaning ‘clear’ and ‘dark’. Lighting is often used to give a sense of the mood of the scene for example the lighting will be very dark in a dramatic scene of when someone is killed.
Conventions of film noir Femme fataleFemme fatale literally means ‘killer/deadly woman’. They often are very promiscuous, beautiful but desperate women. Theyoften make the main male character fall for them and pull them into dangerous situations. They are often presented as being glamorous and beautiful.Common costume conventions include long dresses, expensive jewellery and red lipstick. The costume worn often connotes danger.
Conventions of film noir A cynical, hard hearted, disillusioned male character. This character is often the main character they often have alcohol problems and are hard hearted. They are often portrayed as detectives. There costume is normally suits, trench coats and trilbyhats, mainly because it is the clothes a male would of worn in 1950 which helps set a time and give the film some context.
Conventions of film noir Smoking Most of the characters in film noir will this is mainly because smoking connotes danger which suggests that no one is safe. Italso connotes a sense of mystery as smoke makes the air cloudyand suggests that there is something the characters are hiding or something they do not know about, therefore once again giving a sense of not knowing and mystery.
Conventions of film noir Guns Guns carry the connotation of danger as they are used to kill things. They also add a sense of action to film noir and help togenerate excitement. Guns used are often small hand guns that are hidden away so when they are pulled out it shocks the audience.
Conventions of film noir Money/riches This is often a key theme in film noir because it is used to showstatus. For example the main bad guy will have a lot of money touse against people. It is often a trouble maker for the main male character who already has several downfalls.
Conventions of film noir Mirrors/reflectionsThese are often used to show conversations between characters. It often shows tension as there must be a reason that they are not talking face to face, therefore suggesting problems. Also they are often used to show the audience things that the character looking in the mirror cannot see, therefore creating suspense and excitement.