Books and Movies Reviews

Film Noir, Vincent Vincendeau

The theme of this French article is the French antecedents of film noir. Film noir is a term used to describe the large body of films in America in the period of 1941-58, generally they focus on urban crime and corruption, on sudden episodes of violence in a culture who's fabric seems to be unravelling. They crumble the American dreams most basic promices, of hope prosperity and safety from persecution. Film noir is a term given to films ofthe 40's and 50's in America by some French film critics translated as black film they were often based on crime fiction.
The articles sarcastic title gives an impression of Ginette Vincendeau's appreciation of early French cinema and its links with film noir. In the article he discusses a study conducted by French critics of the mid 50's, Raymond Boyde and Etienne Chaumeton. In their book they dismiss the European influence on American film noir as'feeble' and the French as especially insignificant. Vincendeau suggests that their analysis is in some respects unarguable because French cinema on the whole is Realist unlike film noir's surreal styles.
Visual motifs of dark, low key lighting
Vincendeau states "a less bias and more thoughrough look at the french cinema of the 1930's reveals strong intertextual links with American film noir, via film makers careers, filmic re-workings and more diffuse cultural references".
Major contributors to film noir- Robert Siodmark, Fritz Lang, Billy wilder, Max Ophuls, Jaques Tourner and Chris Bernhardt had seen plenty ofFrench films of the 1930's. They had been sent to France under the Nazi regime and film industry internationalion only


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