Week 6: Short - Why Is It Noir And How Is It New?

  • The term “neo-noir” originated as a means of breaching an apparent impasse in noir criticism, admitting links between classic and contemporary noir while also maintaining a division between them
  • Neo-noir only became a true genre in the 1980’s, considering examples in the 60s and 70s as in their embryonic state
  • Erickson also states that, although there is many example of neo-noir films, many don’t succeed as authentic noirs
  • What renders neo-noir distinct from its forbear is self-awareness, contending that ‘neo-noir is made and watched by people familiar with the concept of film noir’
  • For all of neo-noir’s self-knowledge, this doesn’t make it knowable and opt not to impose a specific orthodoxy on what constitutes neo-noir
  • Roger Ebert stating three versions of noir: classic noir (respects the conventions of the genre), deadpan noir (riducles them), and neo-noir (resituates noir angst to the present day)
  • While noir was always characterized by toughness, these new noirs evince a greater sense of disillusionment, combined with an extended sociopolitical critique
  • Critics have thus perceived an initial phase of innovation aligned with new hollywood directors, inspired to use European “modernist” techniques, followed by an erosion of creativity in a period deemed to be emblematic of Reaganite conservatism and a cannibalistic “postmodern” culture that recycled what it could for a fast buck
  • Alain Silver notes a ‘resurgence of interest in the noir style by low-budget film makers’ and equates the B-film of the 1940s with ‘made-for-TV efforts of the 80’s and 90’s.
  • If noir has one consistent feature it is to avoid easy answers.
  • Noir may have been born in the USA but did not take up sole residency there and although claiming it as a national cinema has the benefit of attributing sociopolitical relevance - regarding films as a specific statement about America- concerns about corruption, betrayal, unequal social relations, remorse, redemption and the temptations of criminality are ideas that clearly exceed national borders

Note Created by
Is this note helpful?
Give kudos to your peers!
Wanna make this note your own?
Fork this Note