Identifying the Narrative and Genre Characteristics in a Film
Film is undoubtly the reflective illusion of life and its complexities
brought to a facade of psychological reality for its audience.
It is an art form which plays with mans very definition of semiotic
meanings, codes, signs, signifiers, connotations and popular
ideologies to create a mental association with its audience and
transport the spectator through the door way of a cinematic recreation
of the “real world”
This is more commonly known as verisimilitude.
Arguably no genre exploits and infact questions the social norms,
moralities and issues of common social attitudes of its audience to
the extent of ‘Noir’ and its conventional abstract perversity of life.
Noir deals with the primal fears of man without having to revert to
the technique of the ‘Science fiction’ genre, of creating fictional
dangers. Instead it focuses upon the dark side of human nature, and
the complexities of fate to draw upon its audience’s fear of the
The foundations of Noir lie in between the early forties and late
In its creation Noir produced a stark contrast to previously known
Hollywood genres of the time, through the refusal to present life in a
glossy exaggerated tone of “Happy endings” Noir instead focused upon
its audience an injection of stark reality – fantasised only by the
use of hyperbole and complexity of an erratic representation of fate
‘waywardly embroiling itself around characters’
The world of Noir is dark, conflict fuelled, and instigating of both
complicated enigmas and disruptions.
Above all else it can be said that Noir is a tale of raw human
survival where equilibrium and human domesticity are interrupted by
fate. It shifts morals and blurs the boundaries of the righteous and
evil (visually darkness and light) forcing both audience and character
confusion as onscreen it depicts images of humanity having to endure
what can only be considered as the unendurable.
Deception, corruption of the seemingly incorruptible, treachery and
murder are common place-with dialogue usually being as abrasive to
morality through its mode of address as the visual and thematic
conflict on screen.
Meaning is created technically and characterised through a unique
style of night shooting, dark shadows, sharp lighting contrasts, askew
camera angles, symbolic environments and incoherent heavy flashbacked
Iconography is a key part of this genre as it and its reoccurring and
recognisable symbols - such as the detective who operates on the edge
of the law (again a metaphoric blurring of the philosophical concept
of good and evil) and sometimes even actors associated with the genre
itself, carry meaning from film to film.
The narrational format of this genre tends to, through the techniques