Key features of film noir

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  • Key Features of Film Noir By Liam Hughes
  • The Meaning Film noir is a French term meaning black film, or film of the night. This was inspired by the Serious Noir, this was a line of cheap paperbacks that translated hard-boiled American crime authors and found a popular audience in France.
  • Black and White Most of these films are filmed in black and white not just because they were made in the 1950s and earlier, but this emphasises the shadows in the movie. It also suggests that there is no happiness in this movie by showing no colour.
  • The Setting The setting in film noir movies are usually urban scenes, such as apartment blocks and back alleys. These urban settings are usually filled with dark corners, shadows and little lighting, which shows us that there could be more than meets the eye.
  • Lighting The lighting is one of the biggest part of the film noir genre. This shows two other big parts which are shadows and darkness. This creates the mode of the scene, either it be uncertainty or anger, this creates it. There is little lighting but it always faces the main character on screen.
  • Smoking/Smoke This is a very important key feature in film noir as it is used in every noir film. With the use of smoke, it suggests mystery within the scene or the person in the scene. It makes the audience think that there maybe something more to whats actually on the screen.
  • Shadows With the use of shadows, they suggest more mystery within the film. That there could be someone in those shadows watching, without anyone knowing. The shadows also create darkness, which suggest evil. This may suggest that there is evil everywhere in this movie, and that you cant escape it.
  • Darkness In film noir, darkness is used a great deal within the film. This suggests that there is someone or something out in the darkness, which creates a sense of the unknown and fear. Also this suggests that there is evil within this film and that it is all around.
  • Femme Fatales These are woman who just as soon kill you as love you, and they usually have certain traits such as; beautiful, unrealisable, promiscuous, seductive, double-dealing, ect. These females love creating danger for the main character who ends up falling for her.
  • Female Costume The costume of the females also is a key feature within film noir movies. But mainly the femme fatales. Woman are usually seen in red dresses with a low neckline, lots of mascara, red lipstick, floppy hats, high heels, elbow length gloves, fur coats, ect.
  • Male Detective These are usually the main characters within the film, and usually have a downfall. These men are usually hard-heartened, cynical, morally ambiguous, a hero, ect. There downfall is either a woman or alchol.
  • Male Costume The male costume plays a big part in the film noirs mise en scene. The men dress in fedoras and suits all the time which shows that they are either detectives or mobsters. This tells the audience that crime is going to be a big part within most film noir movies.
  • Guns Guns are a great part of the film noir genre as they bring action to the films. They give a sense of danger and excitement. The typical gun is a hand gun, which is easily hidden so it can cause surprise in the movie.
  • Reflections Reflections are a big part in film noir. These can show the audience things that the character cannot, therefor raising tension and excitement. Also it is a great effect on showing certain conversa- tions between characters.