Paul Schrader Film Noir Essay

Paul Schrader Film Noir Essay-71
Matthew’s voice-over goes on to introduce his family members, including son Marcus on duty in the army.After a scene in which a spectral Matthew joins his wife at her work, his voice discreetly retires.The classification and cataloging of items seem to fulfill a basic need in human beings, whether it is vegetable, mineral or animal.

Matthew’s voice-over goes on to introduce his family members, including son Marcus on duty in the army.After a scene in which a spectral Matthew joins his wife at her work, his voice discreetly retires.The classification and cataloging of items seem to fulfill a basic need in human beings, whether it is vegetable, mineral or animal.

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Wilfred Owen’s poetic monologue “Strange Meeting” (1918) presents soldiers reuniting in Hell, ending with the poignant line, “Let us sleep now….” Addie Bundren, the dead mother of Faulkner’s (1941) includes a chapter narrated by a man who’s been murdered. Examples include “Ghost Ship” (1940), with a victim recounting his own murder, and Norman Corwin’s “Untitled” (1944), which reveals the narrator to be a dead soldier.

In film, World War II brings forth the prospect of dead servicemen returning to tell their tales.

We will limit our subject matter here to the classic film noir period of 1941-1958, recognizing that all modern noir variants seek to emulate this period.

These modern While there is no decisive list of these films, and critics tend to add or remove films from their own personal lists of films noir, those that are commonly classified as such share a common theme perhaps best described by Paul Schrader in his 1972 “Note on Film Noir”: There is a passion for the past and present, but a fear of the future.

Mark Conard, in “Philosophy of Film Noir”, references critics Raymond Borde and Étienne Chaumeton as defining noir as a film which creates a state of tension by removing psychological reference points, in order to create a feeling of alienation (34).

This illustrates that the earliest critics who began to define the body of films noir placed emphasis on mood and tone, rather than subject material.

That opening has become a touchstone for the grim fatalism of film noir, as well as a mark of daring screenwriting. And anybody interested in Hollywood film knows that such narrators are hallmarks of a giddy period of cinematic innovation, as recognizably “1940s” as flashbacks, moody subjective sequences, and twisty plots.

In that era we find narrators well outside that terrain known as noir.

So let’s look at posthumous narrators in the Forties, with some glances at a trio of more recent efforts.

As a non-dead and highly reliable narrator, I must warn you of spoilers ahead.

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