Film privileges certain ways of seeing at the expense of alternate perspectives. By using a repertoire of formal and representational techniques, cinema works to reinforce cultural norms and contain social anxieties.
In this essay, I will be examining three films, namely “Double Indemnity”, “Mildred Pierce” and “Blue Velvet”. I will be examining these films and will attempt to discuss how all three films are considered “film noir”. I will begin by touching on what “film noir” is and how it works to reinforce cultural norms and contain social anxieties. In particular, I will be examining the genre theory of film noir. When discussing genre theory, it is important to understand its popularity, what the genre means exactly and what “film noir” is.
One of the reasons for the inherent popularity of genre films is that genre films evoke feelings and emotions, rather than action, fear and empathy rather than conflict; it could be said that these films served the interest of those who wanted to maintain the status quo (Wright, 2003). Genre films served as a safe haven where viewers could come to for relief and comfort after a long day’s work. Genre can be thought of as a type of film classification which in and of itself, informs the audience as to the type of story or images that they would expect to see in the movie. It is suggested that genre can be defined as patterns, styles or structures that transcend individual films and administer both their assembly by the film-maker, and their decoding by an audience (Grant, 2003) In support of this, Barry Keith Grant (2003, p. xv) states simply that, “genre movies are those commercial feature films which, through repetition and variation, tell familiar stories with familiar characters in familiar situations. They also encourage expectations and experiences to those of similar films we have seen already.”
However, regardless of how genre is identified, Hollywood cinema has had a great influence on its development...