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  • Noir

    Hey, boys and girls.

    What're your thoughts on noir, my favorite genre? Is retro-noir dead? Are movies like Memento the future of noir? What about action noir? Do you see that being on the forefront of film entertainment soon?

    What do you see for this beloved genre?

  • #2
    "Noir" and its sister, the hardboiled movement, were primarily the result of universal disgust with the nature of man after World War I (Sassoon through Hammett). Recent events cannot but reawaken this long-dormant appreciation for novels and films that reflect man's baser nature. However, noir has traditionally had a highly personalized POV, and I believe its best focus will always be tight. In this sense, film noir may take its background from current events, but they only matter in the work to the extent that they reflect individual depravity.

    Noir has had an influence on many of the darker Gen Y films, and the hardboiled genre has found devotees in John Woo and Tarantino. Much of noir's strength has come from its use of psychological tension ("Postman Always Rings Twice", "Double Indemnity") to reveal its characters' soullessness, and even the most violent of the good hardboiled works grounded their violence in moral issues (Hammett especially). Unfortunately, most "tributes" to the hardboiled movement (except LA Confidential) are more pastische than tribute, and will be long-forgotten in a future in which people will still read Hammett with astonishment.


    • #3
      I don't think it will ever gain wide popularity because people/audiences generally don't want to be shown the ugly side of themselves, or even that of others, unless there's a happy ending and the good guy wins.

      But THE MAN WHO WASN'T THERE is pending release, and DePalma's in the middle of filming FEMME FATALE, so there's hope for us yet.


      • #4
        I think that film noir will always be around as a significant "lesser genre," with an occasional really good film of that type, like <!--EZCODE ITALIC START--> Body Heat<!--EZCODE ITALIC END--> or <!--EZCODE ITALIC START--> Blood Simple<!--EZCODE ITALIC END-->.


        • #5
          Good answers, especially captmax's! However, I don't think it gets to the heart of Naud's question, possibly because ofconfusion as to what Naud meant w/the term "retro-noir."

          Y'see, Naud's post came because he and I were discussing on another thread whether he should place his screenplay in the 1950s. I told him I thought retro had been done enough that it might be hard to move it on the market, especially if the times didn't somehow relate directly to the plot. Now, <!--EZCODE ITALIC START--> LA Confidential<!--EZCODE ITALIC END-->, for instance, is a great example of a modern day noir flick set in the past - and yet its success also seems to be an execption to the rule (to me, anywayz).

          So, the question remains - to retro or not to retro in today's market?


          • #6
            I would think that you might want to consider the cost involved in shooting something set in the 1950's. It's pricey, I'm sure.
            But more to the point, if the story would be enhanced by setting it in the fifties, and might bring out some subtle and singular nuances, than I would say, go for it.
            Whatever serves the story and makes it the best it can be.
            For myself, who loved Memento for all it's classic noir aspects, it shows you can do a really good noir, set anywhere, anytime.


            • #7
              I have to say, while Memento was undoubtedly one of the best movies I've seen since American Beauty, it failed me as a noir simply because it didn't have that gritty, hard-nosed dialogue, or dark fifties feel.

              There haven't really been a lot of film noirs lately, and I love that genre.


              • #8
                That's true, however, I would say that the rapid fire dialog the protaganist spoke into the phone qualifies it as true noir, even without the dark gritty '50's technique.
                I don't know, my opine for sure. I love noir films, and also wish they would come back. Even though modern society may not wish to look at our darker sides, I still think it's a very viable genre, and can be modernized quite well.

                Best to you,



                • #9
                  I think we'll continue to see noir but they were never huge popular films. Most of the people who wrote and directed the classic noirs were refugees from Hitler. They were suddenly faced with a world that had turned against them, where dark forces threatened, they were no easy answers and society didn't seem to make sense. Kind of like today. In times like this some people just want to escape and be entertained but others want meaning, they want to understand the dark side of human nature. I think that desire will continue to be there, but it's not the mass audience.

                  Noir doesn't have to be set in the past. It can also be set in the future. To me, "Blade Runner" is absolutely noir. Noir isn't about a time period, it's about a world view.


                  • #10
                    Not since Blood Simple and Miller's Crossing have I been more anticipatory of a Noir film. Could it be because it is another Coen creation?

                    The Man Who Wasn't There


                    • #11
                      Coen = golden

                      Do you people have any idea how excited I am about this film?

                      Billy Bob does noir!!!!!!!!!!!!! I feel like crying.


                      • #12

                        Well it's good to hear that Noir is still doing well. I'm currently writing a novel that is noir yet set in present times with a 40s feel to it. Possibly afterward I'll write a screenplay based on it. I tried to write the screenplay first but it definitely won't sell because it takes place within the entertainment industry and there is an unwritten rule that murder mysteries can't take place there. I guess because it's costly and doesn't make much money. (Has anyone else heard of this?) Rarely is it successful, like in The Player, so I figure I'd get a boost from the book.

                        Also, don't forget the noir film LA Confidential based on real events. (Didn't that take place in the entertainment industry somewhat?)


                        • #13
                          Billy Bob as a Barber. I smell Sweeney Todd pies. :evil


                          • #14
                            (This message was left blank)


                            • #15
                              I'm trying to rush "Seoul Kimcheepunch" before Crash's TS rushes to development.

                              We shall see. Stay tuned.