Final Project DRAFT


One might define “film” as an optical illusion that merely captures an abundance of still images and sequences them in rapid succession in such a way that it hypnotizes an audience into feeling a particular experience. But, why does film matter? I found an interesting response by Intellect Publishing Short films editor, Richard Raskin, to that very question—“There is simply a need that has to be fulfilled—a need to experience meaningful, life-enriching stories unfolding on the screen.” It is an art. There’s nothing like a good movie. But, there’s nothing like a good movie that hypnotizes you in such a way that it confuses you, loses you entirely—it puts a touch of love and comedy into a poetic spin of dark suspense and irony. It is the art of Noir. Now, what the hell is that? Before I proceed any further, it is important for us to take a step back into gaining an understanding for what “Noir” really is. Is it a “genre?”—and if so, how could we even begin to classify it as a Genre when there are so many different kinds of categories of “genres” that contain noir? Is it even appropriate for me to even ask that question? It was the beginning of an era when filmmakers began to twist and add a sense of style to their films. It was taking a love comedy and compounding it with dark conflict against one’s own biggest downfall that we ascertain ourselves as we decode information about a character or plot. The innovation of Noir comes into development during the World War II era when film critics in France became intrigued by the particular style and cinematography of American films of crime and detectives. It was a style that was seemingly influenced by the mood of the post-war generation that implemented a different sense of style and suspicion. It was the beginning of something that many weren’t really sure what that something really was. I’ve concluded that it is not necessarily a “genre” but a style of genre. The elements of these styles and confusions is the purpose of this endeavor of an excerpt that I will attempt to analyze and explain.

  • Describing/defining Noir and discussing it’s history
  • Identifying what “Genre” is.
  • Discussing what different websites are saying about what Noir is.


  • GILDA:
    • Themes:
    • Styles:
    • Flashback/Narrative:
    • Lighting:
    • Femme fatale HER SEXUALITY:
      • She does kind of a striptease
      • A little revealing in her dress wardrobe
      • Her facial expressions, the way she moves. She seduces to manipulate men into getting them to do what she wants—it drives them crazy.
      • Wears dark red lipstick
      • Even in her femme fatale roles Rita’s vulnerability came through. Her likeability and vulnerability are essential factors in her appeal.” (
      • Gilda is not your regular femme fatale who manipulates everyone to get what she wants. To me she is a woman who doesn’t know what she wants, so instead she ends up rebelling against everyone and everything. Not as a search for her place in life, but as the only thing she can think of. This isn’t an evil woman who makes you cold to the bone. Gilda is a tragic character that makes me truly sad.” (Noir of the Week)
      • MY RESPONSE:
      • I actually feel like Gilda knows what she wants but is fighting so hard against what she really wants. She knows exactly what she is doing, but it’s almost like that if she cannot have her way, then she will bring the rest of the world down with her.

One of the pioneers of Noir.

      • Gilda actress (Rita Hayworth)—mostly known as a comical actress.
      • Gilda: 1946 (World War)
  • Femme Fatale


    • THE MEN:
      • Johnny Farrell
      • “But Ford’s performance is equally memorable for the actor’s sudden, dramatic shift from happy-go-lucky rogue to brooding sadist. That degree of intensity and world-weariness was perhaps intensified by the actor’s recent return from a stint in the Marines during World War II. It was, after all, the pessimism and sense of ennui created during that war that helped nurture film noir as an expression of national despair.” (
      • Mr. Munson
      • Dressed very stylish in Tuxedo dress.
  • What makes this films “Noir-ish?”
    • The film Gilda is centered around 2 gentlemen caught between a love triangle of a beautiful woman named Gilda and money illegally made from an illegal gambling casino.
    • BIG surprise with Mr. Munson coming back to life to stir up the plot and climax
    • Not as claustrophobic
  • STYLE: discuss the violence.
    • Depicts crime from criminal point of view instead of the police.
  • Both films have a love story.



    • Themes: the director seems to want to find ways to get the audience to sympathize with the criminals.
    • One of the first films to portray crime from a criminal’s point of view.
      • Crime is a left-handed form of human endeavor.”
    • Styles: Very uncluttered styling. Relies on the City style setting to influence everything within the film, even the characters.
    • “he uses space, shadow and a very clever mise-en-scene to physically illustrate the film’s themes. Scene after scene, we feel the actors closed-in and trapped, almost crushed by the very frame itself. It’s all the more ironic when the last surviving member of the heist dies — in long shot in an open field, surrounded by horses.” (Rotten Tomatoes;
    • “the claustrophobic quality is less pronounced.”
    • MY COMMENTS: what does this say about the style and characteristics of how noir films are illustrated??


    • Mise-en-scene:
    • “In his exemplary mise-en-scene, Huston treats the material with utmost respect and precision, avoiding any moralistic judgment on the characters on either side if the law. He shows in visually graphic detail the position and movements of each character before, during, and after the heist.  There is no use of any gimmicks, and the absence of music during the robbery, relying on naturalistic sounds, heightens the tension involved in the entire process.”
    • Flashback/Narrative:
    • Lighting:
    • Femme fatale:
      • There are no femme fatales. Although, the men’s drive for the women’s attention could be their biggest enemy.
    • Themes:
    • Styles:
        • Uses low angles which are reminiscent of film noir.


    • “Film noir is the term initially used for stylized crime dramas of Hollywood, now the definition is blurry, but they all have few common characteristics. – Grey main characters, usually with some shadowy trait/secret, there are always strong viewpoint in how they view the world. – The storyline is almost always dark and cynical, thats why the name “film noir” which means “black film” in French. Everything in the storyline is pausible, there are no supernatural or sci-fi elements and no sugary romance either, instead there may be strong sexual motivations. – The concept of “mood” of the film is extremely prominent, a good film noir sucks you into an uncomfortable abyss which leaves you in a state where you are confused as what your reaction to the movie should be, you find yourself empathizing with the imperfect setting and even more imperfect characters. Let’s come to Pulp Fiction. It’s definitely a black comedy, you love it or hate it but you can’t ignore it. It has everything a classic film noir requires, dark setting, flawed characters, crime, boxing, drugs and violence. I would like to point two very striking thing about Pulp Fiction that is essence of a film noir, a) All characters have strong opinions and they express it in a very strong way, the movie itself portrays a message, it just slams it on your face. b) The matter-of-fact attitude of the characters regarding well everything is particularly alluring and disturbing at the same time.”
      • DISAGREE:
      • “I don’t think that Pulp Fiction is a noir, it can be categorized as nihilistic one, most of the Tarantino movies are. Where for Noir, apart from theme, the use of shadows, low angle shots and shoulder angle shots are salient features.” (Ali Lliyas)
    • Flashback/Narrative:
    • Lighting:
    • Femme fatale:
      • Can we consider Mia a femme fatale??


    • Themes:
    • Styles:
    • Flashback/Narrative:
    • Lighting:
    • “Any film you watch will have an element of lighting that will add to a specific scene or theme. The movie Scarface (1983) was directed by Brian DePalma and features Al Pacino as Tony Montana. This movie is a very dark movie as it is a part of the gangster genre. Mise en scene would dictate the types of props used in the movie; the things that you see in the scene. For instance in Tony Montana’s house, you can see that he used dark colors in his house, dark reds and blacks. These colors will reflect very dark lighting and a sense of evil. This is how mise en scene correlates to the type of lighting that is used in a film. The picture below will show a better description of what I am speaking of. You can see how even though there is lighting being used on the walls and in the doorway, there still a dark aura because of the colors used on the wall and floors, to include all of the props in the room”


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