Monday, 6 October 2008

Derivatives of Film Noir, and Post-Noirs

Oftentimes, noir could also branch out into thrillers (i.e., Samuel Fuller's Pickup on South Street (1953)), horror, westerns (i.e. The Gunfighter (1950)), science-fiction (i.e., Kiss Me Deadly (1955)) and even film-noir tribute-parodies or comedies (i.e., Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (1982)). It has been noted that a sub-category of film gris (or 'gray film') exists, according to writer Jon Tuska, meaning film noirs that have happy denouements.

So-called post-noirs (modern tech-noirs, neo-noirs, or cyberpunk) appeared after the classic period with a revival of the themes of classic noir, although they portrayed contemporary times and often were filmed in colour. (Three well-recognized neo-noirs include Chinatown (1974), Body Heat (1981), and L.A. Confidential (1997).) Tech-noir (also known as 'cyberpunk') refers to a hybrid of high-tech sci-fi and film noirs portraying a decayed, grungy, unpromising, dark and dystopic future. 'Cyberpunk' was first popularized by William Gibson's book Neuromancer, and best exemplified in the late 70s-90s with the following films: Alien (1979), Outland (1981), Ridley Scott's Blade Runner (1982) with Harrison Ford as a futuristic LA replicant-killer, Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984), The Terminator (1984), Robocop (1987), Total Recall (1990), Kathryn Bigelow's Strange Days (1995) set on Millenium New Years Eve, New Zealand screenwriter Andrew Niccol's directorial debut film Gattaca (1997) about futuristic genetic engineering, Alex Proyas' visually stylistic sci-fi Dark City (1998), and David Cronenberg's twisting eXistenZ (1999).

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