I appreciate your comments.
My words “definitive meaning” may have been vague, I should have used “description” instead.
Noir has a definitive history and huge body of work.
I believe the course did excellent in presenting us with noir’s history and introducing us to dozens and dozens of its films.
Before I took the course I did not know the following:
- The origins of the word film noir- identified by French critic Nino Frank
- Who or what influenced its start- (pulp fiction and hard-boiled writing)
“It is hard to imagine film noir's development without the rise of a particular kind of private detective popularized by the widely read novels of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler.”- Professor Edwards.
- Who influenced its style? The course further identified 5 influential directors responsible to the look of noir:
“The big five German émigré directors were Fritz Lang, Robert Siodmak, Billy Wilder, Otto Preminger, and Edgar Ulmer. These gentlemen combined to create many of the very first films noir, so many scholars feel very comfortable making a very concrete connection between their work in Germany and their work in the U.S.” - Professor Edwards
- Who inspired cinematographers?
“Since classic noir films were shot in black and white, photography was a natural inspiration on cinematographers. And it was not just art photography that helped inspire the noir style. Journalistic photography, published in national and local newspapers, were a well-known source of noir inspiration.” - Professor Edwards
The only thing that was left for us to decide was whether or not noir is a film style, a film genre, or a film movement? Where does neo-noir stand on these points?
When searching neo-noir, I came across one line definitions and paragraphs, mostly identifying films in its genre. For a genre that arguably began in the 60’s I can’t find who came up with the term neo-noir, what influenced it, or the names associated with it.
Maybe Professor Edwards can lead us in a course addressing all these points in relation to neo-noir next summer!
I should admit here that I am not fond of categorizing to begin with; I see the usefulness of putting various items or films into categories, but I don't like to hold onto catergories for the sake of having categories. However, it would be helpful to define neo-noir with some parameters.
So, do you think we can borrow from noir to do define neo-noir? It's what I did in my post about Irrational Man (the post with the red and blue). It would be a beginning. And subject to change, of course.
Maybe the best thing to do is to work backward, which you seem to have found many doing already: "When searching neo-noir, I came across one line definitions and paragraphs, mostly identifying films in its genre." It might be easier to take some loose parameters, start listing films that we think could be called neo-noir, and then come up with more parameters after that.
This seems to be the way film noir acquired its "category status": Many films were already made and seen by overseas audiences before they were defined as film noir.
(I like my first idea more and more: TCM Summer of Neo-Noir in 2016!)