The Genre That Never Sleeps…
By Reyshan Parker
The Who, What, Where, When, and Why of Film Noir
Film noir has become an iconic movement in the history of filmmaking. Working its way into our society by encompassing the essence of the darker side of the American dream. This paper aims to look at the evolution of the genre conventions of film noir and the overall esthetic from the classic era through modern neo-noir era. By examining the historical context of its creation and the movements and trends that called for its multiple incarnations, I intend to widen the spectrum of its influence on the industry throughout the twentieth century; not only from an esthetic point of view but from a business perspective as well. The films I will be examining and breaking down include, Double Indemnity, The Maltese Falcon, Detour, Chinatown, and Pulp Fiction. I will then apply that knowledge to the creation of my thesis film entitled, Noir.0 “the prologue”.
I describe the feature film as follows: A classic/neo noir throwback from three different perspectives; The Good Girl’s, The Detective’s, and The Femme-Fatale’s lives intertwine in a web of greed, deceit, and revenge. It is the story of David Brissel who, after inheriting a Detective agency from his recently murdered boss, meets Sandra Bloom, a Femme Fatale, who convinces him to blackmail her Congressman husband and kill his bookie; after getting away with both he is hired by the bookies wife Melanie to find her husbands killer. But when he falls for Melanie, Sandra gets jealous and tells her husband that she had hired a detective. The Congressmen out for revenge goes to kill David. Luckily Melanie is there to save him, or is she? As the two women hold David at gunpoint, one last twist will settle everything in this classic noir throwback that will keep you guessing right up until the last shot is fired. My thesis film will be the precursor to the feature film.
The intent of my film is to create a uniquely cliché and inventive perspective on the film noir genre by incorporating most, if not all of the stylistic, cinematic, plot and story conventions of the genre and then taking them to a new level. By examining films from the classic era and comparing them to modern neo-noir films I will attempt to create a combination of the two worlds, blending them into a modern noir throwback with a modern day twist. The half saturation of color throughout the film creates the canvas for the middle ground, however colors will bleed through for each characters act; yellows for Melanie, reds for Sandra and blues for David. The film will become full color when the three collide in the final climactic scene bridging the world from a classic black and white noir to modern color neo-noir.
The film aims to embrace the long tradition of film noir, encapsulating and paying homage to all of its great predecessors. The film will combine the aesthetics and attributes that make film noir an ingrained part of our psyche; by incorporating the genre conventions from both the classic 1950’s era and the later neo-noir era of the 1970’s. The main goal of the project is to bridge the gap between the past and the future films of its kind. The film will epitomize a golden era of inventive filmmaking throughout the 20th century, while helping to preserve those that have influenced generations of filmgoers and filmmakers alike. The aim is to be worthy of its title “Noir” as a quintessential stepping-stone to the film noirs of the twenty first century.