just arrived this morning
isn’t it amazing?
Don’t let go.
Film Noir is a category of film from the 1940’s and 1950s that was America’s answer to the art films coming out of Europe at the time. They were, typically, black and white low budget films which were darkly lit with high contrasts for dramatic intensity and usually employed extreme camera angles. They were gritty in story as well as in look and highly dramatic. A moody cynicism about the scales of justice and America’s flawed postwar capitalist system are running themes throughout noir pictures. These reflected an America recovering from the Great Depression, only to emerge in World War II, which eventually gave way to the Cold War. Noir was a totally new look for film, and it fit the mood of the country at the time. Coming out of the WWII, people no longer wanted the glossy, colorful escapist fare like MGM had been producing; but realistic stories about real people in difficult circumstances, like what they had been through with the war. Europe was already producing these films, but it took America longer to catch on. Film Noir gave an edge to film that had not been seen since the silent film era. Warner Brothers — already known for their realistic bio-pics and gangster stories — along with Fox, were the studios who picked up most on the trend. Noir’s alienated characters are naturally distrustful, seen-it-all, people out to salvage what they can from a ruthless society. They fight dirty. They’re survivors — but they jealously guard their individuality. Death is always just around the corner for characters ready to go out with their sex drive, dignity, intellect, wit, and stylish charm intact. Guns, cigarettes, booze, and sleazy hotel rooms — many of the scripts were adapted from pulp fiction magazines — come with the territory. As its name implies, the visual aspects of film Noir emphasize the high contrast between the black and white extremes of the film stock used predominantly during the period. German Expressionist cinema (“The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” - 1923) was influential on cinematographers attempting to capture a dislocated sense of social isolation that defined characters whose motivations are often centered around their need to escape.
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