Conventions of Film Noir

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  • 1. ICONOGRAPHY The typical location of a noir film is normally set inabandoned areas, such as warehouses, alleyways, emptystreets etc. Darkness, gloom and fog are normally associated with filmnoir aswell, giving a mysterious and dangerous feeling. Costume aspects such as guns, trilby hats, trench coats,smart suits with ties, cigarettes, red lipstick and smartpolished shoes are also linked with the noir genre. Within the film, the regular use of cantered angles andlow lightning add to the gloomy feeling of the noirgenre. Heavy, jazz music is normally used within noir films togive the film an edge of sophistication but mystery aswell.

2. CHARACTERSMany different characters take play in the noire genre.The most commonly associated are: Detective (hard boiled flawed hero) Femme Fatal Corrupt Police Gangsters Protagonist Heros Criminal (Petty and extreme) Down and out writer 3. VISUAL STYLESeveral different styles are used in film noir to adddarkness and mystery to the film. These are: Blocking shot Normally through shutters/blinds Low key lightning Shots through mirrors, frosted glass etc. Cantered angles, low angles, high angles Shadows Darkness Silhouette Ominous facial expression 4. SETTINGSA major aspect in creating a successful film noir movie is thelocation in which it is set. Stereotypical noir settings are: Rural locations e.g. warehouses, factories, refineries,abandoned buildings Bars, lounges, clubs Diners, Gambling dens Docks, seaside, promenade Urban locations e.g. L.A, New York, San Francisco Police station Alleyways, empty streets 5. THEMESThe theme of the film sets the movie in motion and allows theaudience to grasp what the movie is going to be about.Common themes used in film noir are: Greed Love Betrayal Jealousy Lust Revenge Corruption Murder Sex Justice 6. NARRATIVEThe narratives of film noir have progressed over theyears however, a main occurrence of the same varietyalways come up. These are: Voiceover narration Fast forward and flash back Elliptical First person narrative Convoluted ending Good Cop, Bad Cop 7. PROGRESSION OF FILM NOIRHowever, over the years, film noir has progressedto fit the modern society. The classic noir films stillremain in the 1950s but sub-genres were createdof the film noir genre: 1960s onwards Neo-Noir :Shutter Island,Public Enemies, American Gangster, SmokinAces, The Good German Noir Science Fiction: Blade Runner, TheTerminator, V for Vendetta, Robocop, Sin City,Watchmen. Noir Comedies: The Naked Gun, Zero Effect,Fatal Instinct, The House of Yes, Assassinationof a High School President. Noir Westerns: Welcome to Hard Times,Cemetery without Crosses, High Plains Drifter. Superhero Noir: Kick Ass, Watchmen, Batman,Batman Begins, The Phantom. Horror Noir: The Resurrected, Nightmare onElm Street, Dead of Winter, The Dead DontDie.