Sunset Boulevard, directed by Billy Wilder

1021 WordsJun 18, 20185 Pages
Film Noir is a fairly self-explanatory name. French for “Dark” or “Black Film”, this style (not genre) of film is pretty much summed up in those two words. These films started being made in a 1940’s, Post WWII paranoia, with the threat of nuclear missiles looming over the heads of all United States citizens, Hollywood included. This paranoia led to disillusioned attitudes and existential feelings, which in turn were reflected in Film Noirs through things such as characters, with the two most prominent types being hardened male protagonists and femme fatales. Also, the “Darkness” of Film Noirs was not just a metaphor for the content of the film, but also a fairly literal description of the visual style was like. Taking influence from…show more content…
When Joe leaves her mansion to try and show how he was his own person, she attempted suicide, which made him come back to her and get tangled up in her web of control once more. Near the end of the film, Joe comes to his senses once more and ends up getting shot by Norma for it, because she believes that a celebrity is a star because nobody will abandon them, which Joe had been trying to do. In short, Norma is an atypical, yet at the same time great example of a Femme Fatale in Film Noir. Perhaps the biggest characteristic in Film Noir is the element that gives it it’s name: the visual style. Whether it be a detective story, a crime drama, or Sunset Boulevard’s dramatized look at behind-the-scenes Hollywood, film noirs are all shot in a very distinct manner. The lighting is often single-source, making heavy use of chiaroscuro, a high contrast between light and dark, using things such as streetlights or venetian blinds to convey this visual style. The environments are often portrayed as gritty streets, wet from rain and illuminated primarily by streetlights, or claustrophobic-looking rooms with amounts of smoke that would trigger any working smoke alarm nowadays, depending on the location, to get across a pessimistic attitude. Sunset Boulevard, despite it’s name which could be interpreted as a pretty sight, definitely shows a darker appearance of Hollywood. When Joe first sees Norma’s mansion, he notices how
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