Unit Seven Key Concepts

Make sure you relate the key concepts to the genre of film we are studying - film noir

Film Noir Genre Themes and Concepts

Film noir - Genre of film that is very dark and full of violence. Also they never have a happy ending. This film era ranged from the 40s to the 50s and had a very cynical and gruesome style to it.
It is a cinematic term used to describe Hollywood crime dramas. Before they were widely adopted in the 1970s they were called melodramas. People still debate today about whether or not film noir is an actual genre. Full of suspence never really have a good ending.

Fall Guy - The person that takes the blame for the crime committed - sometimes they were apart of the crime, other times they are completely innocent. The fall guy is a pivotal archetype of the film noir genre. It centers around the idea that for every crime someone will be blamed, whether or not they are innocent. The fall guy often becomes someone that the audience grudgingly begins to support, and so when they are caught or killed at the end it can often be rather depressing.

Private Detective - Someone who finds out information and history for a private party. A person who is not part of a legal department in the criminal justice branch but finds people and follows up on suspicions for a private party. The private party is another archetypal character in film noir. The private detective is often snooping around after the main character or whoever committed the crime. In film noirs, although it might take a while, the private detective almost always catches the criminal in the end. There are no perfect crimes or daring escapes in film noirs, because just about everyone either dies or gets caught.

Existentialism - A belief originating from the 19th century where the individual is responsible for creating his or her own destiny, living their life to create their own meaning against all odds and obstacles. Existentialists do not believe in a God, instead people must find a meaning within themselves. Existentialist though often hovered around the idea that life has no deeper meaning.

Inciting Incident - The moment in the plot where the story kicks into motion. This event usually signals the beginning of the downward spiral of the main character; essentially the catalyst that sets off a series of events which lead to the character's demise.

Archetype- A character, place, or thing, that is repeatedly presented in films with a particular style or characterization; an archetype usually applies to a specific genre or type classification. Archetypes often associated with film noir include the femme fatale and hard-boiled detective. Archetypes are able to classify traits in a person whether it be in a movie, or in a book.

Fate - Something that unavoidably befalls a person. There are always problems deciding if something happens because of fate or choice. If someone makes a choice, it could be looked at that he made that choice, or he made that choice because of fate. Fate can be tracked back to the persons mother's mother's mother's fault and so on. There is no exact answer on who to blame. In film noir most of the time the main character gets stuck in a situation because of fate. They were just at the wrong place at the wrong time. Fate is usually defined as something that is meant to happen, and you cannot stop it.

Femme Fatale - A character archetype of the film noir genre. Traits of the Femme Fatale include a seductive charm that lures in the main character to fall in love with her, intentionally or unintentionally leading to malicious situations. Can be villains or antiheroines.played by a female who uses seduction to seduce a man into something he would usually not do.

Rule of Thirds- Imaginary lines are drawn dividing the image into thirds both horizontally and vertically. You place important elements of your composition where these lines intersect.

Cinematography Concepts

Cinematography - Is the making of lighting and camera choices when recording photographic images for the cinema.

Cinematographer - A person whose profession is motion-picture photography or director of photography.This person is in charge of shooting during filming.

Aspect Ratio - The ratio of the width of an image to its height. It is represented as an x:y ratio. The "x" part is used to measure pixel ration such as 2560x1080 which is the highest pixelation at the time.

Shadows - An area where direct light from a light source can not reach due to an obstruction by an object. This helps give a sense of suspense and foreboding in film noir.

Venetian Blinds - Cast shadows in a room that produce vivid stripes and an emphasis on distorted diagonals, which add visual tension and an air of imprisonment to the scene (hinting at a cage or prison bars). They also create the impression that its is darker and more claustrophobic inside the room.

Voice-over Narration - (explain how it is used in film noir): Used to provide background information and explain the scene.

Deep-focus Cinematography - How much the background, mid-ground, and foreground will be rendered in "acceptable focus". It is a photographic and cinematographic technique using a large depth of field. Depth of field is the front-to-back range of focus in an image — that is, how much of it appears sharp and clear. Consequently, in deep focus the foreground, middle-ground and background are all in focus. This can be achieved through use of the hyperfocal distance of the camera lens.

Rule of Thirds - A picture should be equally divided into nine squares, by two equally spaced horizontal lines and two equally spaced vertical lines, with compositional elements placed along these lines or intercepts.

Negative Space - The space around and between the subjects of an image. In a two-tone, black-and-white image, a subject is normally depicted in black and the space around it is left blank (white), thereby forming a sillhoutte of the subject.

Contrast - To compare in order to show unlikeness or differences; note the opposite natures, purposes, etc.The difference in color and light between parts of an image.