I'm slowly realizing my film is neo-noir, even down to the femme fatale. This isn't what I'd hoped for. My first really great idea has become a genre film. And not just any genre. Easily the most stale, over-exalted, parodied genre in the history of film.
Starting with the most obvious, the voice over is a tell tale sign. Any time you've got a film that opens with the only master shot of the whole movie, a sweeping pan over a skyline, finding a window and zooming in on that window as the belabored voice of the haggard protagonist begins to speak to his only audience, you know you're watching noir. Okay . . . my film has no skylines, no sweeping pans, and no zooms on windows. However, the narration is belabored if not tortured and the protagonist is haggard if not psychopathic.
Next we have the lighting. Technological determinism was one of the main reasons noir looked the way it did. They didn't have so much money so they tried to get away with things like low-key lighting to hide the quality of the set and simple one-setup scenes with awkward, highly meaningful compositions. I will be a victim of this same technological determinism.
With only one key light attached to the camera, there will be some pretty silly looking shadows. The only fill lighting will be from the glow of streetlights or common household overhead lighting. The characters will all look pasty and white and the sets will all look wholly uncinematic.
The shoots will primarily happen at night, which means we'll be doing night-for-night . . . just like they did it in the fifties. It will be dark. One might even say black. If one were French, one might choose to say "noir".
Now onto composition. There will be no wide establishing shots. I've only got one camera and it's handheld. Very few even-framed two shots. No need for over the shoulder since there's no discernable dialogue. Won't be cutting with any eye for timely close-ups or reactions nor for that matter continuity.
And finally character development. A protagonist experiencing alienation, despair, haunted by the past, perhaps lost, most certainly alone and threatened. Am I talking about my film or Double Indemnity? . . . or The Maltese Falcon? . . . The Killers? The Big Heat? Well . . . more likely one of the bad noir films you never hear about. Is this not the lamest, most played out concept for a film?
Moviepants: Adventures in Underground Cinemascopia
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