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Key themes of film noir


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Here are the typical conventions found in the film noir genre

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Key themes of film noir

  1. 1. Rules of Film Noir By Kyle Barter
  2. 2. Cinematography «> The cinematography around the femme fetale will normally position them in a place of some sort of superiority. <9 An example of this is the first time we meet Phyllis in ‘Double Indemnity’ as she is shot from below and the point of View of Walter Neff, establishing her superiority over Neff. <> The emphasis of this femme fetale is also seen later on when they use a close up of her ankles, showing the focus of Walter Neff and the power Phyllis has over him. . ,‘ C3 "" -‘(o)"c-“ ‘ ff: J, ‘ lye: « , . , . »-<
  3. 3. Mise—en scene The location normally involves some sort of urban area, involving a financially powered city such as Manhattan or LA. _ Mr The use of an urban area helps create the dirty streets ofthe ’ "7 " Film Noir genre, and the scummy, backwards society they live in ’ * The urban setting gives you the typical Streetlight lighting, this making it a darker place to live in. / ) fruit . The mise—en scene for the femme fetale put the women in small, revealing outfits to show off their manipulative beauty. As seen in ‘The Postman always rings Twice’
  4. 4. Sound The sound used on a scene would generally be diegetic traffic flow, with the occasionally siren to match the urban location, with the sirens also adding to lower society of the Film Noir world. When the scene involves women, I found that the instruments would be high pitched with instruments such as the violin and the flute. The violin would create the effect of a weary romance, dying out with the rest of the city. Whilst the flute would be to used to emphasise the beauty ofthe female.
  5. 5. Themes Themes such as fate and murder are used throughout Film Noir. Fate looks towards how the heroin and damsel are brought together and even through the toughest situations there is still a final romance. Not only this but the Film Noir dead city wouldn't be so gothic if it wasn’t for murder. This is crucial for any Film Noir and it would be a rarity to find one without murder. It gives the chance to bring in all the typical characters including the detective, usually the protagonist, on his journey to solve this crime or catch the sinner. As an audience you almost expect the city to be rundown with crooked and backwards themes.
  6. 6. <> é> é> <> Characterisation Different characters include: Crooked cops / lawyers / district eternise A femme fetale, who manipulates the heroin with a bright, good—looking outside, but a dark and deceitful inside. The femme fetale is seen to be so powerful that they can distract the man from work. What seems to be impossible for hard—working Walter Neff. Not only this but they can use the male as a source for power and manipulate the man to get that murder, seen in ‘Out of the Past’ where the femme fetale uses the male to beat up a blackmailer. Although the women are seen to be manipulative and powerful through this, the men do have some sort of power. It is sometimes evident the heroin is aware of the femme fetale and their attempt to manipulate them, resulting in the man fooling the women to, not only what she needs, but what he needs.
  7. 7. Narrative <> A perfect way to summarise the narrative is quite simply: <> ‘A DAME WITH A PAST AND HERO WITH NO FUTURE’ <9 This is evident in most Film Noir’s that feature both dame's and hero's and is seen quite clearly in ‘Double Indemnity’ where Walter Neff is seen as a ‘dead man walking’ but Phyllis a ‘dame with as much history as a Smithsonian’. : _i ¢. ,4 _, __,4—/ ."' ; _. _: ___’_, _ _, —*1[ I p . . I ae/ /- . , 1 . X n J’