Identify the narrative and genre characteristics in the opening sequence of a film of your choice studied in this module.
How do these conventions create meaning and generate response for the audience?
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 unknown.
The foundations of Noir lie in between the early forties and late fifties.
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 narratives.
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 of voice-over,
subjective camera angles and similar subjectiveness of actual storytelling convey an almost documentary style realism.