Neo-noir

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Neo-noir (English: New-black; from the Greek neo, new; and the French noir, black) is a style often seen in modern motion pictures and other forms that prominently utilize 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.

History[edit]

Main article: Film noir

The term film noir (French for "black film") was coined by critic Nino Frank in 1946, but was rarely used by film makers, critics or fans until several decades later. 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[a] had a number of common themes and plot devices, and many distinctive visual elements. Characters were often conflicted antiheroes, trapped in a difficult situation and making choices out of desperation or nihilistic moral systems. Visual elements included low-key lighting, striking use of light and shadow, and unusual camera placement.

Although there have been few new major films in the classic film noir genre since the early 1960s, it has nonetheless had significant impact on other genres. These films usually incorporate both thematic and visual elements reminiscent of film noir. Both classic and neo-noir films are often independent features.

It was not until after 1970 that film critics began to consider "neo-noir" as a separate genre by its own definition. However, noir and post-noir terminology (such as "neo-classic", "hard-boiled”, etc.) in modern application are often disclaimed by both critics and practitioners alike due to the obscurity of such an unrefined genre. For example, James M. Cain, author of The Postman Always Rings Twice and Double Indemnity, is considered to be one of the defining authors of hard-boiled fiction. Yet, Cain is quoted as saying, "I belong to no school, hard-boiled or otherwise, and I believe these so-called schools exist mainly in the imagination of critics, and have little correspondence in reality anywhere else."[1]

Robert Arnett states that "Neo-noir has become so amorphous as a genre/movement, any film featuring a detective or crime qualifies."[2]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ In the French from which the term derives, the plural is films noirs. Standard English usage is films noir, as in "courts martial", "attorneys general", etc. but film noirs is listed in the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary in first order of preference. [3]

References[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ O’Brien, Geoffrey (1981). Hardboiled America – The Lurid Years of Paperbacks. New York; Cincinnati: Van Nostrand Reinhold. pp. 71–72. ISBN 0-442-23140-7. 
  2. ^ Arnett, Robert (Fall 2006). "Eighties Noir: The Dissenting Voice in Reagan's America". Journal of Popular Film and Television 34 (3): 123–129. 
  3. ^ "film noir". Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Merriam-Webster Online. Retrieved 2009-02-10. Inflected Form(s): plural film noirs \-'nwär(z)\ or films noir or films noirs \-'nwär\ 

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