Monday, February 25, 2019
Film Noir to Neo Noir
murphy 1 Rachel Murphy Professor Charlotte E. Ho tumefy Film 2700 12 November 2012 Word Count 1411 Film Noir to Neo-Noir A Shift in Cultural Tides Film noir of the 1940s captivated audiences by means of its distinct form of storytelling. Strongly twistd by German Expressionism, these charters have a definitive look and style that still resonates with modern audiences today. Like new(prenominal) classical Hollywood genres, cinema noir want to bring to light tensions tangle deep down society, namely those that affected work force following World fight II.Neo-noir involves pay a great deal less solicitude to societal commentary. Like photo noir of the past, neo-noir elevates style over narrative however, the genre has seen profound changes in regards to narrative, the fade of the femme fatale, and the prevalence of onscreen violence due to shifting heathen tides. In observing examples of film noir and its contemporary version, neo-noir, it is clear several elements in r egards to the style and over all told feel of these films have virtually remained the same by means ofout the years.In Nicolas Winding Refns neo-noir, Drive, a sense of otherworldliness is portrayed through several night eyeshots, intense shadows, and an overall dark rather downtrodden pettishness to the film. The scenes in the film take place at night and constantly in an urban setting. All of these elements be Murphy 2 highly regular of classic film noir as advantageously as German Expressionism. Drives narrative unfolds with surprisingly little dialogue. Instead Refn centre scenes on the mood, further strengthening the style of the film. Similarly, Curtis Hansons L. A.Confidential keeps with traditional film noir in elevating the style of the movie above its narrative. This is done through the to a great extent emphasis of the urban cityscape. As the title suggests, Los Angeles, is a major luck within the film. The peppy, orange-filled paradise portrayal of L. A. in the films rise scene sharply contrasts the corrupt, crime-ridden town shown throughout the rest of the film. In addition, voice-overs and flashbacks, typical elements of film noir, are extensively used. The genre has seen great changes in regards to its companionable commentary, however.Noir films of the 1940s strongly reflected the social climate of the time. In several respects, film noir can be seen as the male equivalent to melodrama. Just as women dealt with the crisis of femininity in post-war years, men also struggled with their masculinity as well as adjusting to their new roles in an ever-changing society. After World state of war II, many Americans, especially men who had experienced the atrocities of war firsthand, took on a more cynical outlook on the world. Film noir of the 1940s sought to bring these feelings of closing off and changing attitudes to light.Like many men returning from the war, the heroes were disillusion and often very isolated. In many respects, their fate is predetermined. In Tay Garnetts The bearer Always Rings Twice, the audience gains a sense that arse Garfields character, Franks, fate is already sealed as currently as he first plots, and eventually carries out the murder of Coras married man. This action clearly serves as a marker in the down(prenominal) spiral of Franks biography. Similarly, in Billy Wilders Murphy 3 Double Indemnity, Fred MacMurrays character, Walter, irrevocably alters the course of his life when he gives in to Phylliss pleas to murder her husband.In both of these instances, the motivation lavatory this clearly immoral acts is lust. cardinal protagonists seem or so supporterless against these forces. Both films also end with little doubt as to the fate of the protagonists. In The Postman Always Rings Twice, the film ends with Frank awaiting his punishment on death row. Similarly, Wilders Double Indemnity ends with Walter, critically hurt from a gunshot wound inflicted by Phyllis, confessing his role in her husbands murder. This clearly reflects upon the attitudes of males during the 1940s as helpless against the imposing forces of an tyrannous society.Neo-noir films differ from their film noir counterparts because they are no longer reflective on social and cultural tensions. This is simply because the tension is not as general or heavily snarl in todays society. In the ending of Refns Drive, the nameless driver, though stabbed in the abdomen, clearly lives. It left hand wing up to the viewer to decide what kind of life he leave alone lead in the future. In Hansons L. A. Confidential, the future of the city is somewhat unclear, but both protagonists in the film are met with at to the lowest degree somewhat happy endings.The male protagonists in neo-noir films are also a great deal more strong-willed. Their actions, though at times extreme, are seen as confirm to the viewer and made by the protagonist alone. Unlike earlier noir films, the protagonists are at least somewhat in control of their future. This turn within the genre clearly reflects changing attitudes within society, as the helplessness and isolation men felt after the war is no longer felt on such a large scale. Murphy 4 The influence of culture on the content of noir films is especially unmingled in the disappearance of femme fatale in neo-noir films.The 1940s marked a major shift in gender roles with the start of World War II. As men left for war, women took up jobs in the workforce and in factories in order to help with the war effort. This brought about a new sense of independence for women. When men returned home from the war, however, this shift was not necessarily seen in a confident(p) light. The emergence of the femme fatale in film noir clearly reflects that in the eyes of men, womens changing roles in society often presented a threat to comprehend masculinity as well as established gender roles of the day.The femme fatale of noir films is invariably portrayed in a negative light. She is in most cases seen as the major driving force behind the protagonists tragical end. Furthermore, the protagonist is usually helpless against the advances of these women. Femme fatales, such as Cora in The Postman Always Rings Twice and Phyllis in Double Indemnity, are roughly always met with an end even more bleak than that of the protagonist. In these two films, the femme fatales are both killed with little thought. Neo-noir films, however, approach female characters in a much more favorable light.The relationships between protagonists and these women are based on sleep with, rather than unmingled lust. Thus, the actions of the protagonists appear often more justified. This can be accredited to the changing cultural tides since the 1940s. Womens independence is generally no longer seen as a threat to male masculinity and thus is virtually extinct thematically in neo noir films. This is especially evident in Drive as well. The nameless drivers love intere st, Irene, is characterized by her innocence rather than her sexuality. Murphy 5 Even in L. A.Confidential, Lynn, a prostitute, has a relationship with one of the protagonists, however, the relationship is based on love rather than lust. Film noir arguably would not translate well to modern audiences if not for its integration of onscreen violence. Like German Expressionism, 1940s film noir drew a definitive reception of discomfort and mental inquietude from its audiences. In Double Indemnity, the scene in which Phylliss husband is bump off is brief and little is shown. The audience is shown only Phylliss cold, detached reflectivity while her husband is murder next to her in the passenger seat.In the 1940s, filmmakers didnt necessarily need to show Phylliss husband being murdered in order to elicit a strong psychological reaction from audiences. With the abrogation of the Hays Code, however, audiences have become somewhat desensitized to the mere implication of violence. L. A. Confidential and Drive both use violence as a means of eliciting this same reaction. Perhaps the most memorable scene in Drive occurs in an elevator where the driver, in order to shelter himself and Irene, not only kills a man, but proceeds to unleash all of his anger by stomping the mans head into a gruesome, flaming(a) pulp.In L. A. Confidential, numerous murder scenes and uncomfortable police interrogations illustrate how violence is presently used in neo noir to elicit the strong emotional and psychological discomfort that typified 1940s noir. Certainly the strongest influence on the evolution of film noir has been societal and cultural changes throughout time. These changes have served, however, to maintain film noirs relevance with contemporary audiences while still keeping with specific attention to the overall feel of the film and high level of stylization.