Chapter

Living in Fear

Wheeler Winston Dixon

in Film Noir and the Cinema of Paranoia

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print February 2005 | ISBN: 9780748623990
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748653614 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748623990.003.0007
Living in Fear

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With the decline in cinema attendance in the early 2000s eerily mimicking the same pattern in the early 1950s, television programs have become a new and potent source of noir. From CSI to Law and Order: Special Victims Unit and Moment of Truth, television depicts the true ‘reality’ of life in the twenty-first century; rapacious greed, fear, violence, endless war, terrorism and the continual droning of either threats or assurances from impotent authority figures. The new breed of television reality shows, such as Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, I Want a Famous Face and The Swan, create the impression that one can ‘buy’ whatever one wants. In a post-9/11 cinematic landscape, we must fight to find a path towards reason and understanding of a new cinematic landscape in which violence and catastrophe are viewed as constants. Even the news has become noir, dealing in paranoia, fear and obsessive speculation. In the world of film noir, our lot is to seek continually the phantom reassurance of a new social construct that can never fulfill our spectatorial desires.

Keywords: CSI; film noir; Moment of Truth; fear; violence; television programs; reality shows; The Swan; paranoia; I Want a Famous Face

Chapter.  7802 words. 

Subjects: Film

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