In the heist itself, time overlaps, and actions that have already been shown are repeated from another character's point-of-view. The audience is left to pout the pieces together so that we see a character do something and then se how it helps the next action lead to the desired conclusion.
At the racetrack, with the announcement of the start of the fifth race, the film cuts to Johnny, in the words of the voice-over narrator "beginning what might be the last day of his life." Such a voice on the soundtrack emphasizes again the uncertainty of the course of action being taken by these criminals, contributes to the suspense, but also keeps a sense of doom in the film, as if the ending were already known by Fate. From this point until the end of the robbery, the pace of the film speeds up as the camera cuts from one…… [Read More]
Among the various styles of producing films, it has been observed the noir style is one that has come to be recognized for its uniqueness in characterization, camera work and striking dialogue. Film Noir of the 1940s and 50s were quite well-known for their feminine characters that were the protagonists, the femme fatale. This was most common with the French, later accepted in the United tates. There might have also been reservations over these films probably because of the moral implications and repercussions that such 'dark films' would have in society.
Generally, film Noirs were characterized by the presence of a femme fatale who was the protagonist. The whole movie would revolve around this character because virtually every thing that took place in the movie would involve her (Doane, 1991).
The femme fatale was almost the complete opposite of what a heroine is. A heroine is somewhat a…… [Read More]
Take the movie the Maltese Falcon, for example. The character played by Humphrey ogart is not driven by an idealistic approach, but by the financial motivations that different characters will offer him throughout the movie.
At the same time, the main female character is usually the femme fatale type, dangerous, yet attractive, with whom the main male character tends to bond. This is not, however, the usual Hollywood type love story: the characters have a non-committal relationships and, like the other characters, are ready to betray one another if the situation imposes this.
In my opinion, following the definitions of genre and style and the discussion previously presented on this topic, as well as the main assumptions related to the film noir, we can argue that the film noir is a film genre rather than a film style. The main reason for this is the fact that there are several…… [Read More]
The 1945 film "Mildred Pierce" is the epitome of film noir, complete with the femme fatale, theme of betrayal and hopelessness and use of flashbacks. hile the 1954 "On the aterfront" also uses the theme of betrayal and hopelessness, it breaks from the film noir genre, and rather than using flashbacks, it is told in present time and the use of the femme fatale is replaced by an unscrupulous union leader.
Both movies possess the theme of family dynamics. In "Mildred Pierce" there is the element of a mother-daughter relationship as well as a forbidden affair between Mildred's second husband and her spoiled daughter from her first marriage, Veda. Sexual tension and melodrama runs throughout the movie: between Mildred and her first husband Bert; between Bert and Maggie Biederhof; between Mildred and second husband, Monte Beragon; between Mildred and her business partner and long-time friend, ally Fay; and…… [Read More]
The fact that she flirts with gender roles and norms is equally as dangerous. For Corky, the danger is manifest in the potential betrayal and also in the eventual show down between the women and their male captors.
Jessica is portrayed as a more passive figure, as a more classic pre-feminist femme fatale; whereas Violet is a more active figure, a true "postfeminist good-bad girl hybrid." Things happen to Jessica, even the things that seem to happen because of Jessica. The things that happen because of Jessica were not instigated by her. Furthermore, Violet betrays a man for whom the audience has no sympathy; whereas Jessica betrays no one. In Violet's case, though, things happen because of her machinations entirely. She chooses to involve Corky in the scheme; and she chooses to orchestrate the heist. In the end, both Violet and Corky outsmart the bad guys and without being "rescued"…… [Read More]
Film Noir / Cinema Architecture
Perhaps one of the most fruitful ways in which to trace the evolution of Film Noir as a genre is to examine, from the genre's heyday to the present moment, the metamorphoses of one of film noir's most reliable tropes: the femme fatale. The notion of a woman who is fundamentally untrustworthy -- and possibly murderous -- is a constant within the genre, perhaps as a way of subverting the standard role that would be played by the female lead in a Hollywood film of the 1930s or 1940s, as a love interest for the hero. The film noir femme fatale in her classic iteration usually functions as a way of complicating sexuality with death: we think of Mary Astor as Brigid O'Shaughnessy in The Maltese Falcon (1941) attempting (and failing) to get Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade to overlook her murder of his partner…… [Read More]
Paranoia, Entrapment, And the Corruption of the American Dream
in Double Indemnity and Detour
Film noir can be described as "murder with a psychological twist" (Spicer 1). As a genre that flourished during the 1940s, film noir came to reflect the anxiety, pessimism, and paranoia that pervaded post-war America (20). In Anatomy of Film, Bernard Dick writes, "The world of film noir is one of paranoia and entrapment, of forces bearing down on the individuals that are too overwhelming to resist." Entrapment and paranoia are prominent concepts in Billy ilder's Double Indemnity and Edgar G. Ulmer's Detour and help to exploit the dark side of the American Dream.
In Double Indemnity, Phyllis Dietrichson, a bored housewife, manipulates alter Neff, an insurance salesman, into securing accident insurance for her husband and helping her kill him. From the moment Phyllis reveals her plan to alter, he becomes a co-conspirator, not because he…… [Read More]
film noir movement by examining two films from the genre made at two different times within the movement. This will first mean looking at definitions of what classifies a film as noir and then looking at conventions of the movement such as: story, character and setting. This will explore how production value expresses the story and acts as an important filmic tool. The first movie to be discussed is Double Indemnity; the second film will be Bound. There will also be mention of other films where warranted to prove that noir in its new forms of neo-noir and independent story-telling still exists as a movement within American cinema.
Film Noir as Genre
Before defining the term genre within the filmic context, one must look to one's self for the social, personal and psychological rules in which decisions and expectations are born. Thomas Schatz simply states, "a genre film involved familiar,…… [Read More]
omen in Film Noir
hen artists - painters, sculptors, film directors - create a portrait, they are depicting more than what they see in front of them. They are also painting themselves as well as painting their moment in history. These last two may or may not be intentional; indeed they are most usually not intentional. However, every artistic portrait is a window into an entire worldview, as we see can see when we look at the world of film noir and particularly at the way in which women are portrayed in this world. omen in this genre are routinely portrayed by the male directors of most of these films as at least metaphorically food to be devoured by the viewer.
Although it is certainly not an original idea that male artists undress and serve up their female subjects for a variety of different kinds of pleasure, it is still…… [Read More]
Memento as Film Noir
Christopher Nolan's Memento as Film Noir
Film noir rose to prominence in the late 1940s and was at first described as being "murder with a psychological twist (Spicer 1). Since the 1940s, the film noir genre has undergone a few changes, yet the central concepts of the genre remain the same. Christopher Nolan's 2000 film Memento is a neo-noir film that integrates many of the concepts found in traditional film noir into its narrative and editing. Memento utilizes traditional film noir devices such as narrative structure, the opposition of good and evil, setting, lighting, and mise-en-scene to play upon the themes of memory and perception.
Memento follows Leonard Shelby, played by Guy Pierce, a former insurance investigator with anterograde amnesia who is on a quest to find the person that helped to rape and kill his wife. During the course of his investigation, Leonard meets Teddy,…… [Read More]
Chinatown and Film Noir
The influence of classic film noir on Chinatown
Rising to prominence in the late 1940s and initially described as "murder with a psychological twist," film noir helped to introduce audiences to a new genre that could be distinguished by its subject matter, themes, and stylistic trademarks (Spicer 1). Chinatown, directed by Roman Polanksi and starring Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, and John Huston, helped to redefine the genre while maintaining several aspects of classic film noir. hile Chinatown was released in 1974, it remains a definitive film of the film noir genre and adheres to the "murder with a psychological twist" trope.
The classification of film noir was first used by French film critic Nino Frank to describe a series of four recently released crime thrillers that included The Maltese Falcon (1941), Murder My Sweet (1944), Double Indemnity (1944), and Laura (1944) (Spicer 2). Crime films, including…… [Read More]
Sunset Boulevard is a classic film noir produced in 1950 and directed by Billy Wilder. The film begins with the murder of Joe Gillis, a floundering screenwriter who ends up dead in a swimming pool. "Poor dope," the voice over says. "He'd always wanted a pool. Well, in the end he got himself a pool, only the price turned out to be a little high." The voice over, delivered in classic film noir style, turns out to be none other than Gillis himself. Far from being an unreliable narrator, though, Gillis promises "the facts" and delivers. The entire film Sunset Boulevard is the retelling of "the facts" from Gillis's perspective. Wilder's choice of narration is dutifully ironic, as a failed filmmaker becomes famous. The theme of the movie is reminiscent of the Great Gatsby, with its peek at American decadence and lost dreams. Because it offers rich social commentary, Sunset…… [Read More]
There is a direct correlation with, say, Henry Hill's cocaine abuse and the increasingly rapid cuts between shots. Faster-paced narrative parallels quicker-moving shots. When viewers finally see the film in the theater, the finished product reads like a cohesive narrative when in fact the filmmakers strung together disparate shots and cuts and combined them later after thousands of hours of painstaking labor. Analyzing a movie must therefore include respect for the editorial prowess of the post-production crew.
Editors must be intimately familiar with the screenplay they work with, especially in films that do not have a linear narrative. For instance, Christopher Nolan's 2000 film Memento describes one man's struggle with memory degradation. elying on a non-linear plot, the filmmaker depended on the post-production crew to adequately convey the disjointedness of amnesia. Other elements like dramatic irony, in which the audience is privy to information that protagonists do not have access…… [Read More]
Double Indemnity is a 1944 noir film directed by Billy Wilder that cast Fred McMurray as Walter Neff opposite the scheming femme fatale played by Barbara Stanwyck. The film dared to push the boundaries of the production Code designed to maintain the moral standards of the audience: Barbara first appears on screen in a towel, shoulders exposed, as she stares down from her lofty perch at her prey -- McMurray newly arrived to "house of death." Stanwyck's sensuality is used as a plot device to lure McMurray's Neff into her clutches, which involves a preposterous scheme of murder and money. The film explores the manner in which a good man can become embroiled in a bad situation -- that way is mainly exposed as the way of the flesh. Neff's seduction at the hands of Stanwyck sets off a chain of events that eventually leads to his fall (bleeding and…… [Read More]
The setting then shifts to ashington, D.C., where a younger Louise is in love with an unmarried construction engineer, David (Van Heflin). David, however, finds Louise overbearing and does not return her love, which only makes her want David even more, to the point of obsession. An obsession or a quest (e.g., Sam Spade's quest for the Maltese falcon; the young reporter's quest to find "Rosebud" in Citizen Kane, is also a frequent film noir element, although in general, within film noir films, the main character's quest is more mysterious than Louise's overt, obsessive quest for David's love.
Film noir often also contains plot coincidences, or odd confluences of events (e.g., Kane just happens to meet Susan Alexander on a dreary night when his marriage has just come apart). Such a coincidence within Possessed takes place when David happens to turn up at the home of Louise's employer, a wealthy…… [Read More]
Of note, Out of the Past was released in Europe and Great Britain as Build My Gallows High. It seems that both films could have been subtitled with this alternative note, particularly when we focus upon the editing -- each piece is but a plank in the construction of the gallows and when the camera has had enough of these nefarious people they are then cast aside as they do others (Homes).
Editing Example 2 -- Geometric vs. Sound-Based Editing- Geometric editing is essentially a technique that uses the positions of the camera, one following each other, when put together, form a geometric shape or picture of the action. For example, the interaction of close ups (when the policemen are talking, for instance) with long shots, of traffic and the city, in The Line Up. In addition, the geometry of the editing moved from box to box, almost in a…… [Read More]
Big Sleep and Chinatown: Depictions of Noir in Hollywood
Film noir rose to prominence in the late 1940s and was initially described as "murder with a psychological twist" (Spicer, 1). Film noir helped to introduce audiences to a new genre that had distinct trademarks and themes. The Big Sleep, directed by Howard Hawkes and based upon the eponymous Raymond Chandler novel, helped to cement and define the genre. Similarly, Chinatown, directed by Roman Polanski, helped to redefine the genre, while at the same time, maintaining several aspects of classical film noir. The Big Sleep and Chinatown, though filmed nearly 30 years apart, are definitive films of the film noir genre, helping to establish the role of the hard-boiled detective in the genre, and adhering to the "murder with a psychological twist" trope.
The term film noir was first utilized by French film critic Nino Frank to describe four recently released…… [Read More]
Blade Runner: Genre, Conflict and Ambiguities
The conflict at the heart of Blade Runner is like that in most noir, neo-noir and detective films -- a fight between good and evil. In Blade Runner, this conflict is particularly compelling because the distinction between these two forces is ambiguous at best. The film uses the man vs. monster motif put forward in Shelley's gothic masterpiece Frankenstein (in Blade Runner it is updated to man vs. machine to fit the futuristic setting), and this motif allows the film to explore the question of what makes us human, intelligent, sentient, and mortal. The film's underlying philosophical tone is not used in a pedantic manner but rather to elicit sympathy for the film's most interesting characters -- the replicants themselves -- as well as the individuals responsible for creating them and destroying them. The hero of the film, Deckard, is one of the latter…… [Read More]
Expressionism and Noir
Noir is an optical kind of a prototype for development of subjects, influenced by a criterion of identity whose main mechanisms are matriarchal murder and the exclusionary movement of a mixture of race and sex. Given that the main structure of this prototype is brutal in nature, it follows that it is inseparable with crisis. The saying “what goes around comes around” holds true here. More so, our dedication to the procedure of development of subjects makes sure that the end product has been changed to some ambiguous, formless, and unstructured form (Gloria, 1987). Oliver & Trigo (2003) reveal that we become accountable for our own haunting experiences by employing this prototype of subject development.
Noir has of late come up with some commendable masterpieces, both in the cinema and critical sectors. These include: After Dark, LA Confidential, My Sweet, More Than Night, Voices in the Dark,…… [Read More]
imagery in the movies Chinatown and Blade unner and compare the film-noir type of imagery against the actual statistics available in the latest Census results from Los Angeles that characterize the complexion of Los Angeles in 2010. In all three arenas, we see a Los Angeles area that is multi-ethnic, grime and dirt included. In many ways, while the movie imagery is different, in many ways all three characterizations have more in common than have differences. In all three portraits, the dirty, gritty and repressive city scape has the potential to swallow up the inhabitants in the Los Angeles darkness that is almost as thick as palpable as the ninth Egyptian plague of darkness. The films accurately and effectively discuss the "feel" of the city and the city's neighborhoods. The author will provide examples from the films to illustrate this, as well as the similarities and differences.
In all…… [Read More]
Memento Film Analysis
Christopher Nolan's Academy Award nominated film Memento provided a new perspective on film noir and helped to redefine how a narrative was presented in cinema. Memento stars Guy Pierce as Leonard Shelby, Carrie-Anne Moss as Natalie, and Joe Pantoliano as Teddy/John Edward Gammell. Through Leonard's psyche, the film's narrative structure, and its mise-en-scene, Nolan is able to demonstrate the perpetual conflict that arises in the film between good and evil, fact and fiction, and instinct and knowledge.
Memento is the story of Leonard Shelby, a former insurance investigator, who is suffering from anterograde amnesia. In the film, Leonard is trying to find the person that raped and killed his wife, but has trouble retaining any information long enough for him to make any progress in his investigation. However, through a series of techniques designed to jog his memory, including tattoo, Polaroid pictures, and extensive note taking, Leonard…… [Read More]
Mulholland Dr., directed by David Lynch. Specifically, it will compare the film with the essay "Babes in Babylon," by Graham Fuller.
The film "Mulholland Dr." is everything Fuller says, and more. Viewed only as an art film, the scenes are lush, dramatic, dark, and classic film noir. Just like its Los Angeles setting, it is sensual, quirky, weird, and difficult to comprehend in the end. As Fuller concedes, "Given its unpromising beginnings, this lethally perfumed neo-noir may be even more remarkable as a successful marriage of form and subject" (Fuller). In other words, for some unknown reason, the movie works, perhaps because of Lynch's dedication to eccentricity and mystery. It is difficult to discern when the characters are awake or dreaming, or why some of the characters even exist, such as the odd couple who bid Betty adieu at LAX, and hoot merrily after she leaves. Lynch's projects…… [Read More]
Chinatown and The Pianist both exemplify Roman Polanski’s directorial style. However, they are vastly different films. An exploration of each, in comparison with one another, illustrates Polanski’s predilections as a filmmaker and possible also as an auteur. The 1974 film Chinatown bears a dark and gritty stamp that exemplifies in many ways the zeitgeist of the era. Building on the tradition of film noir and its romantic depictions of criminal underworlds, Chinatown is unique in its use of an unreliable narrator: the audience does not necessarily know the truth and is thus deprived of the treat of dramatic irony. Polanski’s 2002 film The Pianist is almost the opposite, as the audience knows fully well the realities of Jews living in Nazi Europe. Both films are dark, sociological, and to a lesser degree political, and both offer sweeping and visually poignant narratives.
One of the main themes Chinatown and The Pianist…… [Read More]
Emile Zola and the Movies
The translation of any work of literature into another medium, even one apparently so closely aligned with the written word as film, is always a chancy proposition. While literature and film focus themselves on the same targets within the minds of their audiences; that of completing an organic connection between the conception and the reception of an idea, the very natures of the two disciplines demand different things of the person who is reading or watching the material. As exciting and enveloping as the best film experience may be, it is still, in its essence a passive experience; every action is already determined, "painted," and set in celluloid by the filmmaker. On the other hand, literature demands much more of its audience. Even when a writer devotes paragraphs to descriptions of various characters or activities, the reader still plays an integral part in the final…… [Read More]
French New Wave cinema was established by film critics, who founded the Cahiers du Cinema, whom felt cinema had become too commercialized, formulaic, and unoriginal. This group of critics would come to identify two major characteristics of the New Wave movement, which included the manner in which mise-en-scene was utilized in the film and how their auteur theory could be applied to work of art created. A contemporary film that incorporates French New Wave cinema elements into its production and design is the 2009 film District 9.
Among the major elements used in French New Wave film are loose story plots; improvised dialogue; erratic character behavior; unique use of jump cuts; and the use of natural lighting, location, and direct sound recording. District 9's unique documentary style and editing allows Neill Blomkamp to successfully incorporate these elements into the film's narrative while maintaining a cohesive feel.
Additionally, District 9 is…… [Read More]
As a testament to the respect he garners in the neighborhood, however, he is allowed to pass by without being sprayed by the water.
Radio Raheem's warrior status is first challenged in the film by a group of Latinos hanging out on their front stoop. They are listening to the radio, which is blasting Latin music. Suddenly, Radio Raheem appears, with his ghetto blaster pumping out Public Enemy. The Latinos react in anger, and turn up their music in order to drown out Radio Raheem's. This contest goes on for a few more takes, but it is ultimately Radio Raheem who emerges victorious in attaining maximum volume. The "fight" against the "power" has been won - at least momentarily. As Radio Raheem marches down the street, leaving his victims behind, a small black child runs up next to him. Radio Raheem gives the child a high five.
In another important…… [Read More]
THE ROLE OF WOMEN IN FILM:
HIS GIRL FRIDAY, SEMI-TOUGH
FLIRTING WITH DISASTER
The history of women in the cinema can be traced back to the early days of film production, beginning ca. 1896 with films by director Alice Guy lache, such as "The Cabbage Fairy" and "The ewitched Fianc?." With the advent and popularity of the so-called "silent era" of film production, women began to be depicted as various stereotypes, such as "damsels in distress," weak-minded, timid city girls and impoverished "white trash," while men played an overwhelming majority of lead roles, usually as heroic figures who rescue these "damsels" from a plethora of dangerous situations. In a study of one hundred films released between 1930 and 1940, part of the "Golden Age" of American cinema, "eighty percent focused on the love/hate of a man with a good/bad girl, while fifty percent had the good/bad girl opposing…… [Read More]
Cape Fear, Then and Now Martin Scorsese's 1991 remake of the 1962 classic Cape Fear offers superb opportunities to compare American culture and values in two vastly different eras separated by a mere 29 years. The 1962 classic, directed by J. Lee Thompson, coming out of the pure and innocent '50s, was simple, straightforward and scary. Scorsese's version is more complex, sophisticated and possibly less scary, because the contemporary world itself is so much more threatening and the contrast between screen and real life is less divergent and less shocking. Scorsese in remaking Cape Fear was making a commercial thriller, adding themes of personal and contemporary significance, contributing his own directorial elements, and creating a tribute to the original.
Technical differences between the two films are most obvious since the original, filmed in shadowy black and white noir style, differs notably to the clear imaged, visual intensity of the widescreen…… [Read More]
Hitchcock's universe is also, perhaps more than anything else, common
throughout in its worldview. The uniqueness of Hitchcock's films as
thrillers, suspense dramas or dark comedies goes beyond simple genre
representation. To some extent, "directors' statements of intent guide
comprehension of the film, while a body of work linked by an authorial
signature encourages viewers to read each film as a chapter of an oeuvre."
This perhaps above anything else, helps to reinforce the basic
presumption of this discussion, which is that there is a knowing
relationship between audience and filmmaker-often based on a history
between the two-in which certain conceits of the genre or personnel tend to
reinforce the presence of a stylized illusion, in this case the machismo of
a Mafioso community. This approach is at the heart of filmmaking for
audience and filmmaker alike, with both parties desiring an end product
that sufficiently removes the…… [Read More]
Orson elles' Film Citizen Kane (1941) on Expression in Film; the Film Industry; and on the Theory of Director as "Auteur"
The expressive meaning of the cinematic masterpiece Citizen Kane, directed by Orson elles in 1941, cannot be summed up succinctly. ithin Citizen Kane, everything is significant; not a single frame is wasted or extraneous. Each separate portion of the film contributes to its overall impact as one of the greatest cinematic achievements, if not the greatest, ever. The film is, quite simply, a tour de force of film directing; cinematography; mise-en-scene; editing; sound (it is considered the best sound film ever made (Mast and Kawin; Giannetti); acting; "aesthetic realism" (Bazin, p. 43) and an amazing (even to this day) synthesis of all these elements and more. Therefore, analyzing one line, or one key scene, or even a long series of scenes from Citizen Kane and declaring any of these…… [Read More]
This was not the case in the early days of film, however.
Instead, the studios either owned or worked in close collaboration with movie theatres, the vast majority of which had only one screen at the time. Instead of being able to choose which movie one wanted to see upon arriving at the theatre, choosing a movie meant choosing which studio's latest picture seemed most appealing, and going to that theatre. The arner brothers did not have a lot of money to build theatres with; they managed to construct a few in major cities, but that was it until Harry arner talked to independent theatre owners and convinced them to advertise arner's films for a small price (BOS 2).
The boost that arner Brothers Studios got from these advertisements allowed them to grow their business, and even obtain a large loan from Goldman Sachs that was used to build more…… [Read More]
The Royal Tenenbaums is a 2001 film directed by Wes Anderson that explores the factors that drove the Tenenbaum family apart and the factors that lead to a reconciliation between the family members. As The Royal Tenenbaums centers on the issues of the Tenenbaum family, it is important to understand the relationship that each member has with each other and how their individual personalities affect their relationships. In The Royal Tenenbaums, these characters, the film's structure, and various turning points contribute to the film's narrative construction and development.
The Royal Tenenbaums revolves around the Tenenbaum family. At the head of the family is Royal Tenenbaum.[footnoteRef:1] Royal is a former attorney whose disbarment was influenced by his son Chas. Throughout much of the film, Royal demonstrates that he has been less than an ideal father and husband. For instance, not only did Royal steal bonds from Chas's safety deposit…… [Read More]
Analysis of Godard's Alphaville
French New ave cinema emerged during the 1950s and was inspired by the criticism of Andre Bazin and Jacques Donial-Valcroze who helped to found Cahiers du Cinema. The Cahiers du Cinema helped to establish two filmmaking philosophies that would help to guide New ave auteurs in the creation of their films. Additionally, New ave directors would also establish a set of guidelines that would help to classify their films as part of the New ave movement. Among the founders of the New ave movement was Jean-Luc Godard whose films not only adhere to the guidelines of the movement, but also push the boundaries and allow him to use his films to explore politics, genres, and cinematic styles. Alphaville, released in 1965, not only follows the guidelines that were established by the New ave movement, but also brings together the genres of film noir and science…… [Read More]
" (p. 78)
This leads us to the very question that the achowskis struggle with in their work, casting figures such as Neo and Trinity, or Violet and Corky, into a struggle for individualism against a culture defined by demands for uniformity and male-driven values of violence and domination. here Bound relies on highly grounded visual effects to express this idea, the Matrix explores the very same themes using innovative and ground-breaking special effects. It is in this way that in the Matrix, as we become more aware of the fake things that once were presented as reality, that ripples begin to appear on the screen. hen Neo-is 'located' in the Matrix, the scene begins with his being absorbed into a mirror. The mirror ripples unnaturally and in a way that jars with the physical rules of the real world. This is a visual effect that is repeated throughout the…… [Read More]
La Nouvelle Vague, Lighting, & Alphaville
The focus of this essay will be on the aspect of lighting in the film Alphaville, directed by Jean-Luc Godard. The film is a detective story and a film noir released in 1965. The French New Wave, or La Nouvelle Vague, distinguishes itself from other movements in film in numerous ways, one of which is the use of and sculpture of the light. The following essay illuminates how the lighting in Alphaville distinguishes it as a French New Wave film, a film noir, and a surreal experience of the narrative. Movements such as the surrealists and the situationists heavily influenced the French New Wave filmmaking community. The use of light in Alphaville reveals the artistic and political perspective of Jean-Luc Godard and his crew. The paper, through examination and analysis, proposes that the lighting is an integral element in the aesthetic and artistic success…… [Read More]
Mulholland Drive directed by David Lynch. Specifically it will discuss symbolism in the film, character development and conflict among the characters, some of the storytelling techniques used, and how lighting is used and how it affects the mood of the film. David Lynch has become famous in Hollywood for his unusual, even strange films, and Mulholland Drive is no exception. The film is extremely symbolic of Hollywood and the dreams that people carry inside them. The film symbolizes dreams, but also sin, death, love, and the need for fame that guides so many in Hollywood.
The film's symbolism is often buried in the way Lynch creates a film. The lighting, the twisted plots, and the dreamlike sequences all blend to create another world, and that leads to another symbol in the film -- Hollywood. The characters all want to succeed in Hollywood, because they want fame and fortune, which Hollywood…… [Read More]
The subject of films is a matter of dreams for many persons though the attraction has come down after the new medium of video has come in. Yet, for some it is still the medium to dream in.
To get into the concept of formalist film theory, one has to talk about the film in terms of the formal or technical elements within the film. These are in terms of its lighting, sound and set design, scoring, color usage, composition of shots and editing. This is the most prevalent method of studying films today. Thus when the theory is considered, it will take into account the synthesis or lack of synthesis of the different elements of film production and the total effects that are produced by the individual elements of the film. One of the common examples of this is to consider the effects of editing and when a…… [Read More]
performance of the Hollywood film industry, keeping in view all the relevant details and structures, which the directors and the moviemakers of the Hollywood film industry present in their movies. The idea of artificiality in Hollywood fiction and in Los Angeles will be mainly discussed and elaborated further in the paper. The ideas, arguments and the statements regarding the Hollywood fame culture and artificiality will be supported by the examples of the movies.
Sunset Boulevard by William Holden is selected as an example to reflect the ideas on the Hollywood's fame culture and its artificiality. The names and descriptions of other movies will also be included so as to give a true and fair view of the statement regarding the culture of fame and artificiality in Hollywood fiction and in Los Angeles. In the end, conclusion based on all the relevant facts will also be presented which will prove that…… [Read More]
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
"E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial" has entered the pantheon of American pop culture in such a way that any film critic approaching it has to declare his or her bias up front: it is as hard to be objective about "E.T." As it is about "The izard of Oz" or the original "Toy Story." It seems embarrassing to use the tools of serious film criticism on something like "E.T." simply because most people have an instinctive sense that children are actually fairly tough critics, and that anything that is so universally acclaimed as children's entertainment as Steven Spielberg's 1982 science fiction masterpiece can't really be a serious movie, simply because it happens to be slick and professional. But revisiting "E.T." is also a useful way for anyone with an interest in serious film criticism to watch a film that actually works. "E.T." is actually a remarkably effective film, in…… [Read More]
colors, when all you could see was black and white, when nobody could think of a featured film, it was then that the director Antonio came up with a film "story of a love affair" which challenged the traditional ideas and themes. Cronaca di un amore is an Italian black and white drama film which was released in 1950. The movie is known as 'Chronicle of a Love' in the United Kingdom, and 'Story of a Love Affair' in the United States of America. It was the first venture of the director Michelangelo Antonioni as a whole length feature film. Before this the director Michelangelo Antonioni has been famous for different short films and he was also given the opportunity to direct a documentary about the internal works of an asylum but he abandoned this opportunity. Story of a Love Affair was his first narrative feature film (Venturi, 1955).
With…… [Read More]
In his 1940 romantic comedy adaptation of Philip Barry's Broadway play, director George Cukor allows Katherine Hepburn, James Stewart and Cary Grant to light up the screen and carry the movie without confusing the audience with camera tricks and editing.
By using subtle camera techniques, Cukor introduces the main characters through action and relies on his star ensemble to paint the picture of their respective characters. The editing is fluid as well as the cinematography. Using such devices as off-screen dialogue, and cues, we follow Hepburn, a Philadelphia socialite as she attempts to marry another man, and avoid a tabloid hound.
Cinematically, this is typical of the movies Hollywood was making in the 1940s. This particular film went on to win a string of Oscars, including Best Picture, and Best Director. Cukor interplays the style of writing within his camera directions so as to allow for an enjoyable…… [Read More]
Lies and alkies: Singing in the Rain vs. Sunset Boulevard
Long before the self-reflexive, pastiche ethos of postmodernism that is popular today, films like "Singing in the Rain" and "Sunset Boulevard" used the medium of cinema to critique the false nature of Hollywood and to critique the medium of film itself. Both the films "Singing in the Rain" and "Sunset Boulevard" chronicle the rocky transition of Hollywood from a purely silent and image-based means of generating a creative pictorial reality to a talking and slightly more realistic version of 'real life.' But while "Sunset Boulevard" shows this supposed transition was really a lie -- talking pictures are no more real than silent life, "Singing" in the Rain was more hopeful in its presumption that talking and even singing movies could be slightly more realistic than the silent epics of costume balls and far-off lands.
"We had faces then," says Norma…… [Read More]
Man ho Shot Liberty Valance and the Brilliance of John Ford
John Ford's The Man ho Shot Liberty Valance (1962), a classic western with a few film noir elements included, is elegiac in the sense that its narrative strategy is that of eulogistic remembrance by now-Senator Ransom Stoddard, of horse rancher Tom Doniphan, who once saved Stoddard's life and changed it much for the better, and who was the real man who shot Liberty Valance. According to Robert Horton, "This may be the saddest estern ever made, closer to an elegy than an action movie, and as cleanly beautiful as its central symbol, the cactus rose" ("Editorial Reviews"). Upon Tom Doniphan's death in the small fictional town of Shinbone (state unknown) Ransom and Hallie Stoddard arrive back in town to pay their final respects to Doniphan who sacrificed so much of himself, and so much of his own future happiness,…… [Read More]
visual motifs that Alfred Hitchcock puts into service to tell a film's story cinematically. The focus of the essay will be to discuss such visual motifs as they are to found both in Strangers on a Train and in North by Northwest. Also, we will examine how Hitchcock use editing, performance, doubling and camera movement to cinematically create both suspense and irony in these films. Additionally, we will consider if the films reviewers of the period noticed these Hitchcockian devices.
First we need to define visual motif and what it meant for Hitchcock as a part of his entire filmatic theme's vision. By looking at the films, it is obvious to this author that Hitchcock used film noir in his crime dramas, particularly those that emphasized cynical attitudes with sexual motivations and connotations. This is understandable as Hollywood's classic film noir period is generally seen as extending from the early…… [Read More]
Spade walking down to examine a murder makes use of shadows as well as high black-white contrast in order to convey drama and suspense. This is commonly referred to as the film noir lighting technique because it conveys a sense of mystery and danger. The lighting highlights the most extreme contours of the character's faces, but none of the moderating details such as texture or color. This makes the facial expressions look much more dramatic than they would under normal lighting.
The costumes are also very typical of the film noir genre. Spade is wearing a black wool overcoat and a fedora and his counterpart from the police station is wearing the same outfit. This is a style of dress associated with detectives, who sometimes had to conceal their identity and not stand out. The overcoat conceals much of the person's figure and could conceal weapons or other objects.
The…… [Read More]
Debby plays the part of a kept-woman and is a cold creature and the paramour of Vince Stone played by Lee Marvin. Vince is Lagan's chief henchman in this film. In one scene Debby is thrilled to be an interruption of the boys at a poker game when she answers the phone and hands it to Vince who rudely tells her to leave the room...Debby pauses in front of a mirror preening at her reflection giving an insight into her vain character and is only the first of many preening scenes on her part in the movie.
Scandal Sheet (1952)
Scandal Sheet (1952) is a film noir thriller set at a sensation grabbing tabloid-style newspaper. It is based on the novel the Dark Page (1944) by Samuel Fuller, himself a major filmmaker. In one of the shots which is a complex one shown is a lower East Side tenement from…… [Read More]
Art, Costume, And Scenery of Major Feature Films of the 1980s
Kiss of the Spider oman. Hector Babenco, 1988.
Adapting The Kiss of the Spider oman to the cinema presented a unique challenge to filmmakers. The story is set in a jail cell, and largely takes the form of dialogue between two prisoners: Molina, a homosexual window dresser, and his cellmate, a fiery radical named Valentin. To pass the time, Molina tells his cellmate stories. The dank, dark cell where the two men wear relatively minimalistic clothing is a stark contrast with the beautiful, melodramatic films that Molina narrates. Occasionally, some brightness will intrude into the jail, such as when Molina cooks for Valentin or when he puts a scarf around his head. Molina may make an attempt at drag, but it is relatively minor given the tools at his disposal. "Hurt wears a kind of improvised drag, mostly involving…… [Read More]
Science fiction and horror both offer narrative closure and "the restoration of the social order," as does Repo Men, only in this case the social order being preserved is completely amoral and evil (Grant 21). It does not end with the monster or alien menace defeated, like Independence Day, Star ars, Terminator or The ar of the orlds, but just a literal return to the
status quo and business as usual. Repo Men is definitely not an adolescent or 'infantilized' film, with heavy reliance on special effects and light and magic shows, nor do the good guys win in the end -- insofar as there are any good guys at all. It has no real hope or comport to offer, and n this absolutely dehumanized world of the future that lacks redeeming features of any kind, Remy's fantasy existence might actually be preferable to 'reality'. Thus the film is…… [Read More]
with his partner's wife and his cowardly impulse to dispatch his secretary
to inform her of her husband's death, along with a variety of decisions
that reflect a serious moral ambivalence, illuminate a man with a black
bird over his shoulder at all times. And indeed, as the presence of the
falcon comes to play a greater role in the driving action of the film,
which is often conveyed in bursts of violence and murder, so too does Sam
Spade's misfortune. His entanglements with law enforcement, gangland thugs
and a murderous seductress, though perhaps karmic to some extent, seem
inextricably to wind their way to Spade's doorstep under the supervision of
the harbinger bird.
A key distinction between the film and the novel comes less from what
might be regarded as a narrative decision than a practical one. The ending
to the novel draws out somewhat longer, as…… [Read More]
Women in Film Noir
Teaching is in many ways a solitary profession: A teacher in his or her own classroom spends hours in contact with students but often relatively little time talking to other teachers and educators. Administrators are also in many ways isolated from the teachers. Perhaps because of this fact, the administrators interviewed for this project emphasized the personal importance of collaboration with other members of the professional and the necessity of providing support for each other. This section summarizes the findings of this research concerning how education professionals defined and evaluated different aspects of cooperation within the profession.
Subject Population and Research Design
This study was conducted at a kindergarten through eighth grade school in the district where I am employed. I conducted six interviews with administrators who ranged in experience (in administration) from one to eight years. Five were women and five were former teachers in…… [Read More]
As Gerald Mast states, "Details develop the film's emotional dynamics" (138), and these details are everywhere in the mise-en-scene. The most important aspect of the mise-en-scene, of course, is the acting. Actors are the most obvious props -- and Oh Dae-su provides ample instances of buffoonery that keeps Oldboy from sinking into the mire of its own violence. Despite all the gore, the film harbors a gentleness and affection, thanks to the acting from Oh Dae-su and Mido. Even the villain provides a handsome face and charming smile -- and an affable voice; even he is hard not to like, as he plays cat and mouse with Oh Dae-su.
The low-key lighting also helps provide the audience with the emotional connection necessary for the kind of mystery the film attempts to be. Scenes are shrouded in darkness -- such as when the heroes find themselves working in the Internet…… [Read More]
Not only does this benefit them as a port destination, but the influx of trade goes through Taiwan with the majority of manufactured goods of the Pacific region flowing through their ports. Since Taiwan has a favorable relationship with the Western states, it has been able to absorb the growth of the East Asian region and serve as an effective broker for traffic of goods. Thus it plays a central role within the region as a broker between lesser developed nations and the developed super powers.
Not only does Taiwan hold an enviable position within global trade, but it also has developed its internal capacity to become a manufacturing force. Taiwan has focused its industries on two key developments, high end technology products including semi-conductors and high end technology product development. The Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company is the world's largest independent semiconductor foundry. As a joint venture through subsidized state…… [Read More]
Chinatown: A convergence of fraud, murder, and incest
Chinatown is the 1974 film noir directed by Roman Polanski. A modernized interpretation of classic film noir, Chinatown stars Jack Nicholson as J.J. Gittes, a Los Angeles private detective, Faye Dunaway as Evelyn Mulwray, a victim of incest and daughter of one of Los Angeles' most powerful men, and John Huston as Noah Cross, a corrupt business man and Evelyn's father. Chinatown, though released in 1974, is set in Los Angeles during the 1920s and not only revolves around a murder, incest, and a conspiracy to control the water supply in the city, but is also one of the few films to make reference to the California ater ars.
In the film, J.J. Gittes is a private detective that has been hired by a woman impersonating Evelyn Mulwray who claims that she wants to hire Gittes to perform marital surveillance on her…… [Read More]
Landscape as Replacement of the Mulvey Female in "The Searchers"
In her famous essay, "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema," feminist film theorist Laura Mulvey posits that men in Hollywood cinema, responding to demands of the ruling ideology, "cannot bear the burden of sexual objectification." Basically, she suggests that the dichotomy between narrative and spectacle echoes the division between men and women such that men control and forward narrative, while women exist as spectacle or objects of visual pleasure to be looked at.
John Ford's "The Searchers" is interesting for its alternating and sometimes simultaneous adherence to and subversion of Mulvey's observation and theory. On the one hand, his directorial camera lingers over men far more than women, allowing the audience to derive pleasure from male characters. On the other, it may be argued that the landscape itself has female characteristics, suggesting that the est as Ford depicts it, is the…… [Read More]
Hopefully, regardless of what happens in the rest of the communication world and media, such magazines either in print, electronic or digital form will continue to amaze children.
nfortunately, most young adult books have hit rock bottom, dealing with death, abuse, divorce, sexuality and all the other topics that these youth are bombarded with day after day. It is recognized that youths need to deal with the problems that are facing them, and living in a fantasy world is not helpful. However, do they ever have a time to "chill" as they say it? However, the Twilight Vampire Series is really not the answer to this. It has, what is said, little "redeeming value."
It's difficult deciding on a best YA book and not going back to the classics. The best bet is finding a book that offers imagination, education and entertainment. There are few, but Rebecca Stead's When You…… [Read More]
" In fact that showdown with labor "produced a cultural shift, a new sense of what can be appropriate in business management." The entire Reagan era, according to ill, a well-known conservative commentator - who wrote this piece at the time of Reagan's passing - is remembered "more for the tax-cutting and deregulating that helped, with the information technologies, to shift the economy into a hitherto unknown overdrive."
Another event that made Reagan a hero at a time when America needed heroes occurred in the spring of 1981, when Reagan was shot in an attempted assassination. The New York Times (Silk, 1981) reported that Reagan's "unruffled demeanor" immediately after being seriously wounded, along with his "jokes to his wife and the medics" all helped to "turn fear into rising respect for Mr. Reagan himself," journalist Leonard Silk reports. A "growing number of Americans decided that they had elected themselves a…… [Read More]
Nolan's Dark Knight deals directly with the idea of a hero's control over his world by pitting the emblem of anarchy (the Joker) against Batman (a mythological hero, supported by technology that borders on the totalitarian). Nolan questions the degree of power that someone like Batman should possess and whether or not he actually possesses it. Much of the film is spent analyzing this philosophical query, with Batman's tech-support man Lucius Fox even weighing in with his two cents. Regardless of the film, Nolan inserts the same preoccupations again and again.
For example, in the Prestige, Nolan advances the speculations of philosopher Martin Heidegger by examining the illusion of time with a nonlinear narrative: "For Heidegger, authentic temporality concerns itself above all with the future, whereas the film's notion of time is tied to repetition. According to the logic set forth by the Prestige, the idea of time as linear…… [Read More]
Dashiell Hammett's 1930 detective novel The Maltese Falcon has become an iconic text in American literature, not just as the source of the classic film noir starring Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade, but in itself as a work of fiction that exemplifies the twentieth century's new "hard-boiled" style of American detective fiction that in the end would be associated particularly with Hammett but also with other detective and crime novelists whose work would provide the textual basis for the remarkable visual phenomenon of 1940s noir (Raymond Chandler, James M. Cain). It is hard to get a sense, for a contemporary reader, of the scope of Hammett's achievement here, because so many of his effects which were aesthetically radical at the time have now become so entirely assimilated by our own sensibility that Hammett's originality is best realized in comparison to the Victorian detective fiction that he replaced. There…… [Read More]
After World War I, the German nation and its people were devastated. The public was led to believe that Germany was going to win the war, and it looked forward to a much- improved socio-economic climate. Instead, the war was lost and the country was facing a very dreary future. As a result, the government established the Weimar epublic under the leadership of Friedrich Ebert, a past leader of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and a supporter of the war efforts. Some historians believe it was fate that Weimar Germany did not succeed. From the beginning the challenges were too great, the situation too grim and the individuals involved too unprepared. As a result, Weimar Germany had a short and bumpy ride that combined the best with the worst: Culturally, it remains one of Germany's most creative periods of time in art, literature and thought. Politically and economically,…… [Read More]
Review Evaluation (20%)
James Cain, Mildred Pierce
On the grounds of literary merit, Mildred Pierce is a 'potboiler.' However, its tale of how a hardscrabble woman made a fortune through a chain of restaurants illustrates the American Dream, in terms of both of its good and bad sides. Pierce is a strong woman, but author Cain cannot allow her to be viewed as a heroine, because of her failure as a mother. Reflecting a common cultural stereotype, women are shown to be unable to be successful both in the business world and as 'real' women.
Walter Mosley, Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned
Walter Mosley's work is a kind of film noir in prose. It features an African-American detective, Easy Rawlins. This book is important because it looks back at the formative classic era of Hollywood in Los Angeles through the eyes of a contemporary, American author and examines how…… [Read More]