Have you ever had one of those days when you know you have something that has to be done – say – a blog post about your favorite noir book, movie or what-have-you, and everything that could possibly go wrong with your computer DID?
Yeah. The irony is that I had no idea what noir even meant (besides ‘black’ in French). After a fashion, it could be argued that I had a demonstration this morning, courtesy of my Netbook and Windows 7. Sigh. Windows. Why you suck so bad? Though granted, I’m comfortably certain there’s not a noir anything out there in the world that’s used that question.
I had to look up what constituted a noir film. I found an excellent site about film and film history. They have a very thorough write up about film noir – several pages. At its most basic, the site notes that film noir is a mood – dark mood, tone, and themes. It also generally refers to a historical period after WWII.
I then looked for a list of films. Yet another site listed the 100 greatest noir films. Ah ha! I can write about one those films! Surely . . . nope. Look at that. I have seen exactly zero of those movies. And here I thought my film education was reasonably well rounded.
Enter the NEO NOIR. (Movies made post 1960 that have the same mood/tone as film noir.) Pay dirt.
Bladerunner! It would never have occurred to me to call that ‘noir’. It is, to me, ultimately optimistic at its core. And of course, it’s science fiction first in my broken, disorganized brain. But, you know, amidst all of the classically scifi questions of ‘what constitutes life’, ‘what makes us human’, ‘what is humanity’s fate at the hands of humanity’s creations’, there IS a dark, fatalistic core to Bladerunner.
<SPOILERS BELOW: If you want to see the film, stop here. It is well worth a look. If you have seen the movie, nothing here will surprise you.>
The hero’s humanity is, finally, only intact because it is so fractured and his moral sense so warped and unutterably human. Not *humane*, but certainly human. And there is question at the end of the movie whether that’s a good thing. He’s flying off into the sunset talking about being with someone he ‘loves’. Never mind that he had to rape her to get her to admit she isn’t actually human. Ultimately, he’s human because he can love – but IS that really love or some kind of Stockholm Syndrome? I had always thought it was an optimistic movie because Deckard’s humanity is confirmed – albeit in a totally inhumane way. Thus. Noir.