Film Studies (FMS) 125: Topics in Film Genre – Film Noir
This course introduces students to film analysis, theories, and writing via a special focus on a film genre, film noir. Film noir, the name usually given to shadowy, mostly crime and detective films made from the 1940 to 1950s, has proven one of the most resilient of Hollywood forms, including such important films as Citizen Kane, Double Indemnity, Sunset Boulevard, Chinatown, and Blade Runner – arguably many of the most acclaimed, certainly many of the most popular films Hollywood has ever produced.
In fact, perhaps the most remarkable aspect of film noir is how it has consistently evoked both popular and scholarly interest. The course will examine films noirs, as well as the question of genre more generally, from a number of different critical and theoretical angles, including: a focus on their socio-historical contexts, spectatorship and narrative techniques, their unreliable and unstable masculine heroes, and the femmes fatales that surround them.