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Film Noir to Neo-Noir: Transitions and Modern Noir

film noir neo-noir transition noir modern neo-noir modern noir postmodern noir

343 replies to this topic

#341 ThePaintedLady

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Posted 22 August 2015 - 09:43 PM

Thank you for taking on the subject of neo/modern noir. The past few weeks, I've been trying to watch more neo/modern films noir and often time I finish the film more confused about the sub-genre. My knowledge of noir is specific to the classics, so as I'm watching these newer films, I'm applying that knowledge to this newer genre.

 

I can see some of the classic noir elements (both plot and technical), but it definitely has expanded to much more. I'm in agreement with VanHazard that we see more homme fatales victimizing women. I just finished watching Following available on Netflix. This is Christopher Nolan's first film. It is categorized as Neo-noir; filmed in black and white, narration, non-linear story line, homme fatale, philosophical, violence, etc. 

 

It reminded me very much of Memento (also a Nolan film) as far as its disjointed storytelling, flashbacks, etc.


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Let us read and let us dance; two amusements that will never do harm to the world.

-Voltaire

 

http://scarlettestreet.blogspot.com/ (Film Noir blog)

http://thepaintedlady922.blogspot.com/ (Vintage living)


#342 VanHazard

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Posted 22 August 2015 - 03:09 PM

Just a quick note about the tags for this discussion thread. I'm actually not a big fan of categories, but when reading about later films noir, one sees all sorts of categories meant to apply to films that aren't classic film noir (classic film noir being those noir films made between 1941 and 1958). I didn't want to leave any ideas out, so I added all the tags I could think of that might apply.

 

Thanks for cleaning things up and adding the tags, etc.   I'll add the dates/directors of the additional films listed, but the list could go on and on.  

 

When I started thinking about it, and many of the films we've already listed, it also occurred to me that we may need to add a few more elements to Noir - Neo Noir:

 

Male Fatales --- interestingly, I sense a resurgence in the deadly or predatory male in Neo Noir, and an curious whether the extensive acceptance of at least some/many aspects of feminism over the last Fifty years may be in part responsible; that, and the fact that, serial killers --- the subjects of many Neo Noirs --- are almost exclusively male (as they are in actual fact).  If so, does this reflect the continuing change and complexity in the real and perceived role and definition of masculinity in contemporary society?  

 

This is probably a convoluted way of asking: is there a trend in Neo Noir of men victimizing women rather than the other way around, as so often was the case in classic Noir?   This might be a fun sub-theme to explore if you think it has any validity.

 

Two other elements might also qualify for inclusion: the oppressive burden of the past on the present and future that's so common through both Noir and Neo Noir; and what may be a companion to some of the elements you've already noted, that Existential angst, alienation and estrangement in Noir seems to have evolved into full-blown Nihilism, and the cynicism, fatalism, pessimism in Neo Noir.

 

Here's looking forward to a lively discussion!  


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#343 Marianne

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Posted 22 August 2015 - 11:18 AM

Just a quick note about the tags for this discussion thread. I'm actually not a big fan of categories, but when reading about later films noir, one sees all sorts of categories meant to apply to films that aren't classic film noir (classic film noir being those noir films made between 1941 and 1958). I didn't want to leave any ideas out, so I added all the tags I could think of that might apply.


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#344 Marianne

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Posted 22 August 2015 - 11:09 AM

This discussion thread is based on ideas taken from the Summer of Darkness, HEYMOE, VanHazard, and me (Marianne). We’re working on defining neo-noir and all its subcategories and on compiling a list of neo-noir movies. This first post is simply a way to continue the discussion, which got started under the discussion thread called “Irrational Man: Neo-Noir Masquerading as a Film About Philosophy?” I hope the discussion includes reactions to seeing some of the movies.

 

Borrowings from film noir to define neo-noir and modern neo-noir:

1. Chiaroscuro for black and white films, intense or muted color in movies filmed in color (In either black and white or color, the technique is used to enhance the mood and/or the emotional content.)

2. Flashbacks

3. Narration

4. Crime/planning a crime (usually—but not always—murder)

5. Femme fatale

6. The instrument of fate

7. Angst (for example, guilt, fear, self-doubt, and so on)

8. Violence or the threat of violence

9. Urban and nighttime settings

10. Allusion to post–World War II themes (optional)

11. Philosophical themes (existentialism in particular) involving alienation, loneliness

12. Psychology (hypnosis, brainwashing, manipulation, amnesia)

13. Greed

14. Betrayal

15. No stark contrast between “good” and “evil” (characters, forces, emotion, and so on)

16. Expertise triumphs, perhaps rather than “good”

 

Early examples of neo-noirs:

Underworld U.S.A. (1961), dir. Samuel Fuller, b&w
Cape Fear (1962), dir. J. Lee Thompson, b&w
The Manchurian Candidate (1962), dir. John Frankenheimer, b&w
Shock Corridor (1963) dir. Samuel Fuller, b&w
The Naked Kiss (1964), dir. Samuel Fuller, b&w
Point Blank (1967), dir. John Boorman, color

 

Modern neo-noirs:

Chinatown (1974), dir. Roman Polanski

Taxi Driver (1976), dir. Martin Scorsese

Body Heat (1981), dir. Lawrence Kasdan

Blade Runner (1982), dir. Ridley Scott

Blood Simple (1984), dir. Joel Coen

Blue Velvet (1986), dir. David Lynch

House of Games (1987), dir. David Mamet

Miller’s Crossing (1990), dir. Joel Coen

Red Rock West (1992), dir. John Dahl

Se7en (1995), dir. David Fincher

The Usual Suspects (1995), dir. Bryan Singer

Fargo (1996), dir. Joel Coen

L.A. Confidential (1997), dir. Curtis Hanson

Memento (2000), dir. Christopher Nolan

Mulholland Drive (2001), dir. David Lynch

Brick (2006), dir. Rian Johnson

 

Additional noir film ideas (dates, directors? Just to be consistent and to avoid confusion, not required):

The Two Jakes

Dark City

Mulholland Falls

Bound

The Black Dahlia

Devil in a Blue Dress

The Last Seduction

Palmetto

The Last Seduction

Angel Heart

U-Turn

Deep Cover

Manhunter

Klute

Stormy Monday

Romeo Is Bleeding


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