Mary P. Wood
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Italian film noir
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Although Italy has hosted festivals of film noir for many years, there have been few critical attempts to define Italian film noir as a genre. Italian film noir has never been a genre on the French or Anglo-Saxon model. This chapter explains that noir conventions are used so widely that they constitute an intellectual and creative choice, rather than a genre. Noir elements are used to indicate dissatisfaction with official versions of events, and/or to evoke a dysfunctional world. The chapter considers the development and some different manifestations of Italian noir in the context of the Italian film industry and Italian society. It indicates that the history of modern Italy has been marked by traumatic events and massive social change, events perceived as beyond individual control and profoundly threatening. The chapter briefly considers the pictorial and spatial elements drawn on by Italian film noir.

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