What is it?
Film Noir is a style or genre of cinematographic film marked by a mood of pessimism, fatalism, and menace. The term was originally applied by a group of French critics to primarily describe stylish Hollywood crime dramas, particularly such that emphasise cynical attitudes and sexual motivations. The period that Hollywood’s Film Noir was genuinely excepted to be made in was 1944–54 and popular Film Noir’s were the work of directors such as Orson Welles, Fritz Lang, and Billy Wilder. Film Noir of this era is associated with a low-key, black-and-white visual style that has roots in German Expressionist cinematography.
After finding out the basis of what Film Noir is, I decided to do futher research into the genre. I went on YouTube and found a couple of videos from the same channel, one explaining the origins of Film Noir, and another explaining the all important lighting in this unique style of cinematography.
These two videos were very helpful in aiding my understanding of Film Noir and I will be sure to use what I have learnt when making the 20 second Film Noir clip in class.
The channel I found these clips on was ‘Filmmaker IQ’. They make tons of videos on everything to do with film making, and I will be sure to revisit this channel next time I want to research a filming style.
Filmmaker IQ- https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSFAYalJ2Q7Tm_WmLgetmeg
Top Film Noir Films
These are the Top 10 Film Noir films ranked by The Guardian:
Film Noir Directors
Billy Wilder- (June 22 1906 – March 27 2002) was an Austrian-born Jewish-American filmmaker, screenwriter, producer, artist, and journalist whose career spanned more than five decades. He is regarded as one of the most brilliant and versatile filmmakers of Hollywood’s golden age. With The “Apartment”, Wilder became the first person to win Academy Awards as producer, director, and screenwriter for the same film.
Fritz Lang- (December 5 1890 – August 2 1976) was an Austrian film director, producer and screenwriter. In Lang’s early career he worked primarily as a screenwriter, finishing film scripts in four to five days. Lang went on to direct popular films of the silent era including ‘Metropolis’ and one of the first important German sound films ‘M’. Lang went on to direct some of the most important crime and Film Noir film of the American studio era, such as ‘The Big Heat’. Lang’s final film work was an acting role as himself in Jean-Luc Godard’s ‘Contempt’.
Modern Day Film Noir
A good example of a morden day Film Noir film is the film ‘Memento’. Amnesia has always been common to Film Noir, and this breakout feature from Christopher Nolan carries on the tradition to its maximum potential — taking us on a backwards journey alongside a memory-impaired man investigating his wife’s murder.
The 2011 film ‘Drive’ Directed by Nicholas Winding Refn, is alos another very popular modern day Film Noir. Armed with a neon-lit Los Angeles and an infectious soundtrack, this film tells the neo-noir tale of a stuntman (Ryan Gosling) who moonlights as wheelman, ferrying crooks from job to getaway in record time. In between bursts of bloody violence, this critically-acclaimed film finds plenty of meditative character beats to make Drive one of the best slow-burn entries in the genre.
The 2004 thriller ‘Collateral’ embraces its L.A. Noir roots while playing with more conventional movie tropes, as contract killer Vincent (Tom Cruise) forces cab driver Max (Jamie Foxx) to drive him from hit to hit. Their violent and compelling crime-filled trip through Los Angeles makes the city more than just a gritty backdrop for the action – it turns L.A. into a character.
My Film Noir
In class some of my classmates and I took what we had learnt about film noir through our research, and made our own Film Noir clip. Here it is…