FS 319 A1: Film Noir

E. Del Rio

“Film Noir” is the name given to the aesthetically and psychologically dark cinema that flourished on the fringe of Hollywood cinema in the aftermath of World War II. This course provides us with the analytical tools to identify the major narrative and cinematographic conventions of the noir genre. We study the influences that brought about the emergence of noir (postwar disillusionment and a tendency towards realism, the German expatriates working in the Hollywood film industry, and the hard-boiled school of writers). We also pay particular attention to the evolution of noir in terms of the changes in themes and stylistics from the beginnings of the genre in the early 1940s, its decline in the mid and late 1950s, and its re-emergence in the recent postmodern films labeled as neo-noir. Throughout the course, we pay particular attention to questions of gender and history: i.e. how this classical Hollywood genre constructs notions of femininity and masculinity in order to stabilize cultural priorities and gender hierarchies destabilized by the war.