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This book aims to provide an overview of the history and development of film noir and neo-noir in five major European cinemas, France, Britain, Germany, Spain and Italy, written by leading authorities in their respective fields. It contains a bibliography and extensive filmography. The book describes the distinctiveness of film noir or neo-noir within its respective national cinema at particular moments, but also discusses its interaction with American film noir and neo-noir. It commences with a reflection on the significant similarities and differences that emerge in these accounts of the various European film noirs, and on the nature of this dialogue, which suggests the need to understand film noir as a transnational cultural phenomenon. The problems of defining film noir and the reasons why it has almost always been regarded solely as an American form are discussed. Because British film noir had never received critical recognition, Andrew Spicer argues that British neo-noir had to reinvent itself anew, with little, if any, explicit continuity with its predecessors. The book also explores the changes in the French polar after 1968: the paranoia of the political thriller and the violence of the postmodern and naturalistic thriller. That new noir sensibility is different enough, and dark enough, from what preceded it, for us to call it 'hyper-noir'. British neo-noirs are highly intertextual and allusive, both thematically and visually. The book also discusses German neo-noir, Spanish film noir and neo-noir, and the Italian film noir.

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Andrew Spicer

distinctiveness of film noir or neo-noir within its respective national cinema at particular moments, but also discusses its interaction with American film noir and neo-noir. As each contributor argues, although European film noirs have characteristics that are specific to their national cultural formation, each has been profoundly affected, in various ways, by American noir, in a complex, two-way dialogue that ranges from imitation to

in European film noir
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Felicity Chaplin

(1939) and Le Quai des brumes (1938) and Jean-Luc Godard’s À bout de souffle (1960). These films, each in its own way, are examples of French film noir and their female protagonists read as femme fatales. However, the femme fatale of French film noir is different from the femme fatale of American film noir; she comes from a different cultural tradition and is informed by a different cultural figure. The femme fatale moves easily between American noir and French noir, and while her narrative function remains the same – to bring closure through the hero’s death or

in La Parisienne in cinema
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Jonathan Rayner

corruption and injustice in Shame, and Max the young cop becomes divorced from society and family in the vain battle against encroaching anarchy). The enumeration of such differences can be extended even further, when one takes into account the debt to Hitchcock (in The Plumber (Peter Weir, 1978)) and to the political/investigative thriller ( Heatwave (Phillip Noyce, 1981), Deadly (Esben Storm, 1990)). Instead of a genre. Australian Gothic represents a mode, a stance and an atmosphere, after the fashion of American Film

in Contemporary Australian cinema
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Ginette Vincendeau

The ‘official’ story of film noir, enshrined in Raymond Borde and Etienne Chaumeton’s seminal Panorama du film noir américain (1955), and subsequently endorsed by both French film history and accounts of American film noir, resolutely leaves French cinema out of the picture, dismissing any possible influence. The ‘dynamism of violent death’, the ‘strange, oneiric’ 1 atmosphere and

in European film noir
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Robert Murphy

nit-picking over definitions is unproductive. But nevertheless, attention to its traditions and characteristic traits is important. The use of expressionist visual style – low-key lighting and extreme camera angles – and the central role of a sexually alluring but evil femme fatale , which are key elements in American film noir, are far less prominent in British films. Lighting and camera angles are often used to emphasise

in European film noir
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Anatomy of a metaphor
John M. Ganim

of a pulp magazine cover. Andrew Dickos in Street With No Name: A History of the Classic American Film Noir modifies the analogy when he distinguishes the chivalric hero from the American detective, for ‘these private eyes maintain a code of personal honour, but it is less proscriptive and judgmental than is usually held to be the case, not like the medieval Christian heroes’. 22 The analogy

in Medieval film
Tim Bergfelder

aesthetic. 3 Despite such challenges, the links between the German cinema of the 1920s and early 1930s and the American film noir of the 1940s and 1950s remain a significant element in the critical construction of the latter. This chapter will focus on two questions that have so far been neglected in film historical studies, namely whether there was any reciprocal influence of American noir in the post-war German context, and

in European film noir
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Rob Stone

to see alternatives onscreen: infidelities were punished, justice prevailed, escaped prisoners were recaptured, ‘fallen’ women saw the light and, as Elena Medina de la Viña remarks, ‘as regards juvenile delinquency, it was made clear that its origin was always in neglect and the lack of a Christian family background’. 7 Whereas American film noir tried and often purposefully failed to reconcile a

in European film noir
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Absolutely modern mysteries
Abigail Susik
Kristoffer Noheden

and Sexton, Cult Cinema. 31 Borde and Chaumeton, A Panorama of American Film Noir ; Naremore, More than Night . 32 On Has, see Insdorf, Intimations . 33 See King, Dalí, Surrealism and Cinema ; Susik, ‘Animistic Time in Hans Richter’s Vormittagsspuk ’; Cahill, Zoological Surrealism . Additional surrealist-associated directors working in this period include Norman McLaren, Larry Jordan, and Les Blank. 34 Breton, ‘Surrealism Continues’, 312. 35 Breton, ‘Surrealist Situation of the Object’, 255–78. 36 Richardson, Surrealism and Cinema , 2

in Surrealism and film after 1945