Movies and the ‘Death of God’
Mark Conard looks at definitions and the meaning of Film Noir in this excerpt from The Philosophy of Film Noir. A Metaphilm exclusive.
a few thoughts:
The word itself (film noir) is much of the problem, and much of the solution
As neitchze was loosely qouted to have said that “perfect forms” or concepts necessarily have no history, then a perfect form is an imagination not yet applied to actaul history.
film noir was a form or concept retroactively applied to a history that had already taken place, so once the imagined form and the history itself came together, the inherent flux of ideas was inevidible( the old existance before essence thing)
on the other hand if we take into account that sort of embracing of terms a culture comes to out of a vague consensus that the term holds some truth about the form….then the term film noir…seems to imply that its creators took into account that just using a more discriptive english term like “black” or “cynical” wasnt enough….first of all the word had to be vague in definition and no better way to make it vague than to use a different language(in this case french)...and also to use a word from a language whos most popular school of thought embraced the form. such as french existentialism did around the time the term was coined….
the author did a great job showing the parellels between film noir and existentialism…the term existentialism itself i think is just as heatedly disputed as its filmic counterpart..articles like this one seem to be what this site was created for
This clarifies a lot of things for me:
“...existentialism is continental Europe’s reaction to the death of God.”
And all this time I had thought existentialism was the Parisian-cafe intellectuals’ reaction to being invaded by Germany.
This was quite a pleasure to read.
I will be purchasing the book for a Film Noir course I’m taking online later in the month. The text does a good job at defining the, seemingly, undefinable. ‘Film Noir’ is a subjective term, and I think is often misused, especially in current film making. However, this did a very good job in attempting to do something very, very challenging.
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