Film Noir vs. Neo-Noir

A brief discussion of the Film Noir and Neo Noir genre written by: sourav sarkar More likely, a mood or tone, rather than a genre, ‘film noir’ usually refers to a period of filmmaking in France, right after World War II. First by French film critics around the 1940s. The literal translation means a ‘Black film’, seems fitting since many noticed the sense of darkness, downbeat, despair, insecurities of that time.

Film Noir

Often, a story would revolve around a cynical, hard-headed, male character, disillusioned from society’s norms, who would meet a beautiful, amoral, seductive female. Betrayal, manipulation, murder, all were common themes of the film noir. The violent, misogynistic views of anti-heroes are used to show the symptoms of society’s evils, moral conflict, and experiences of injustice. Often dealing with the underworld gangsters and criminals. Don’t expect many happy endings. The visual shots were taken from unusual places and use shadow and low lighting.

American crime and detective films such as The Maltese Falcon (1941), Murder, The Woman in the Window (1944), and Laura (1944) were released in France after the war, they are some all-time classics of the genre.

The difference between Film Noir and Neo-Noir

Neo-noir can be a separate genre on its own. Neo-noir, broadly speaking, it uses the film-noir visual aesthetics and themes and applies them to movies from the 1970s or even later noir mode. In other words, neo-noir is the modern version of the film noir but staying true to its historical themes.

Neo-noir films developed as a consequence of changing certain social attitudes. We see once more the audience building a relationship with the anti-hero. Some of the issues in neo-noir films include identity, subjectivity, generation, social consequences, and memory troubles. There may be lots of nudity and displays of sexuality, excessive violence and previously taboo subjects inclusive of pedophilia. This displays a change in society’s tolerance for content, adjustments in gender dynamics, racial diversity and so forth.