Film Noir - Rational Versus Evil, Femme Fetal, Investigations, Private Detectives And Atomic Anxiety
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Coined in 1946 by the French, Film noir, translated literally to mean “black cinema or film,” defines early to middle 20th century film that reflects a trend of dark and grim emotions as art seen on screen in post-war America (Dirks 2016). Stylistics such as people presenting themselves as something they really are not, criminal activity, entrapment, corruption, grim city settings, characters that operate on the margin of society are littered throughout film noir. There are many common narratives presented in film noir. Rational versus evil, femme fetal, investigations, private detectives and atomic anxiety are all narrative patterns embodied through this genre. Film of this era often utilized visual effects that were clear reflections of the emotions many viewers held during this time. Dark shadows, framing of characters, bar motifs, obscure lighting and focusing techniques were all put into motion during this period, creating a space for audiences to connect emotionally to the film they are viewing.
In the late 1930s, Americans were on edge. Following World War I, many people felt disconnected and insecure in what Philip Hanson called “a modernist crisis of confidence” (Hanson 2008). During this time period many Americans were reanalyzing and repositioning their opinions on conservative values and questioning the legitimacy of those carrying out the decisions of the country (Hanson 2008). German Fascism, the stock market crash of 1929, and looming