film noir

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A genre of crime films popular in the 1940s and 1950s, characterized by the use of expressionist, chiaroscuro black-and-white cinematography, complex mystery plots, and stock characters such as the cynical detective and femme fatale. Film noir deals with morally ambiguous themes, in contrast to the dominant convention in Hollywood. Notable films include Out of the Past (1947) and The Big Sleep (1946). Certain modern films shot in colour have borrowed its stylistic and thematic conventions, notably Chinatown (1974) and Blade Runner (1982).

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies — Media Studies.

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