Existentialism In Film


I could not say where or how existentialist themes first emerged in film. Often times, critics will point to the work of Ingmar Bergman and Federico Fellini as early examples. Indeed, these two men are titans in their art, and they will be discussed in this essay. However, it occurs to me that a certain genre of film being made in America during the late forties and early fifties perhaps deserves credit for treating very early, if not for the first time, subject matter and themes that might rightly be called "existential" while perhaps not directly inspired by formal existentialist thought. These films were shot in rich black and white, draped in shadows spliced by neon light bleeding ...

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the film noir genre is a direct result of the popularity of existentialist philosophy in America. Film noir does, however, represent some of the first serious confrontation with truly dark subject matter, much of which was provoked more by film makers' insight into the contemporary American scene than by their third reading of Being and Nothingness. Film noir does not treat existentialism per se, but it does concern itself with the dark, the absurd and disturbing, the amoral and the severe; in short, it handles material that has come to be thought of as "existential".
The true film noir of the late forties and fifties were radical innovations. They were nothing like anything that had come before, and they were certainly nothing like anything that was being produced at the time. Two films, Detour and Force of Evil, are often called the definitive film noir. A host of others like them would follow the example. Detour was terribly controversial in its day, depicting a returning war ...

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restrict the number of camera angles and actual cuts in the film. The look their techniques produced is unmistakable. The quintessential film noir also needed an anti-hero that, throughout the course of the film, moves from bad to worse. Despite his frantic and often misguided efforts, he fails to improve his situation, even becomes more and more entangled in sinister events he cannot control. The genre's short life thrived on these formulas.
Joining Detour the same year in this new tradition opposed to mainstream film (represented at the time by Gene Kelly's musical Anchors Aweigh and Bing Crosby's The Bells of Saint Mary's, classic films in their own right but not in line with ...

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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 4/13/2004 05:49:26 AM
Category: American History
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 4130
Pages: 16

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