Film noir is best described as a time and place in American cinema – where filmmakers were becoming increasingly cynical and disillusioned with American life due to many things: the war, the depression (which just ended), and maybe a little bit because of constraints many filmmakers were forced to adhere to in order to make a Hollywood film. As Paul Schrader says, “film noir is not a genre.” Instead it’s more a style defined by shadowy lighting, sleazy locations, and themes of isolation, alienation, and pessimism. The most important thing to remember about film noir was that its creation wasn’t intentional – especially by the studios. But by the time anyone realized what was happening – it was too late to stop the surge of noirs that would dominate the mid-40s and the mid-50s. Continue reading Early Development of Noir and its Lasting Allure→
Due to the history of the industry, it’s rare for a great film of classic Hollywood to be directed by a woman. Thanks to our friends at Miami Beach Cinematheque, a screening of Ida Lupino’s The Hitch-Hiker (1953) is just around the corner. As one of the few true classic noir films, The Hitch-Hiker provides a quintessential noir experience while still having a different story to tell.
Join FIU film studies director Andrew Strycharski at Miami Beach Cinematheque tonight (11/14) at 7:00 PM for a screening of the classic film noir The Killers (1946). Andrew Strycharski’s introductory comments will focus on film noir story structure, the shock of the present and piecing together the past, and the experience of European (and especially Jewish) immigrants and exiles in the aftermath of World War II.
Dr. Michael Gillespie of FIU’s English department, who is currently teaching a film noir course, describes it as a genre “that gives examples of individuals who succeed in resisting dominant authority and provides viewers with an example of someone who sustains his or her integrity.” In other words they are movies about rebels. Selfish, sexy people working for their own gain, these are slick talking, criminally clever characters who never fail to impress.
A film that deserves its legendary status, few praises can be poured on Roman Polanksi’s Chinatown (1974) that haven’t been said before. Thanks to some upcoming screenings arranged by our friends at the Coral Gables Art Cinema, I got the chance to sit down and watch Chinatown again, and I can say with confidence that I enjoyed it just as much as I did the first time, if not more. Chinatown is a superb example of the best of a genre, and a story that should be fully enjoyed on the big screen by fans of noir mysteries.