Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Although I have survived through laughing like a Dadaist at the absurdity of life (and even on my calmer days I see it all as some kind of illusion - maya - a shadow-play) if you asked me for a style and tone for the way I see the world then I would still pick Film Noir. It is admittedly a genre of the generation before me (although the 60s put a cynical twist on it, with, say, Robert Altman's "The Long Goodbye" or the 'trust no-one' spy epics like "The Ipcress file" or the wonderful tv series with Alec Guinness about George Smiley - but the 'real world' hasn't changed that much. The conspiracy of the powerful, rich and corrupt, supported by bent police, and cowardly collaborators is still with us. Anyway - me and my band 'Diogenes and the Cynics' will shortly be doing a few gigs, and be producing a theme album:

"The primary moods of classic film noir are melancholy, alienation, bleakness, disillusionment, disenchantment, pessimism, ambiguity, moral corruption, evil, guilt and paranoia. Heroes (or anti-heroes), corrupt characters and villains include down-and-out, hard-boiled detectives or private eyes, cops, gangsters, government agents, crooks, war veterans, petty criminals, and murderers. These protagonists are often morally-ambiguous low lifes from the dark and gloomy underworld of violent crime and corruption. Distinctively, they are cynical, tarnished, obsessive (sexual or otherwise), brooding, menacing, sinister, sardonic, disillusioned, frightened and insecure loners (usually men), struggling to survive and ultimately losing.

The females in film noir are either of two types - dutiful, reliable, trustworthy and loving women; or femme fatales - mysterious, duplicitous, double-crossing, gorgeous, unloving, predatory, tough-sweet, unreliable, irresponsible, manipulative and desperate women. Usually, the male protagonist in film noir has to inevitably choose (or have the fateful choice made for him) between the women - and invariably he picks the femme fatale who destructively goads him into committing murder or some other crime of passion.

Film noir films (mostly shot in gloomy grays, blacks and whites) show the dark and inhumane side of human nature with cynicism and doomed love, and they emphasize the brutal, unhealthy, seamy, shadowy, dark and sadistic sides of the human experience. An oppressive atmosphere of menace, pessimism, anxiety, suspicion that anything can go wrong, dingy realism, futility, fatalism, defeat and entrapment are stylized characteristics of film noir. The protagonists in film noir are normally driven by their past or by human weakness to repeat former mistakes."

Just like life.... here's me down-and-out with a two-bit job in 1993

"Narratives are frequently complex and convoluted, typically told with flashbacks (or a series of flashbacks), and/or reflective voice-over narration. Amnesia suffered by the protagonist is a common plot device. Revelations regarding the hero are made to explain/justify the hero's own cynical perspective on life. "

And this was me doing the 'daily amnesia' schtick.

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