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While many scholars have focused on noir as a dark visual style, or a worldview marked by the anxieties and stark realities of modernity, few have addressed noir's high degree of self-consciousness or its profoundly quirky humor. In their new book,The Maltese Touch of Evil: Film Noir and Potential Criticism, Clute and Edwards focus on these underappreciated characteristics of noir to demonstrate how films noir frame their "intertextual" borrowings from on another and create visual puns, and how these gestures function to generate both compelling narratives and critical reflections upon those narratives. Drawing on the on the concept of "constraint" articulated by the Oulipo (a French acronym for "Ouvroir de Litterature Potentielle," or "Workshop of Potential Literature"), Clute and Edwards demonstrate that noir was the most constrained of film styles, and the constraints noir embraced gave rise to its infinite variability and unprecedented self-reflexivity--the very characteristics that have often forced scholars to bracket off noir, framing it as an exception to the otherwise tidy world of studio-era American cinema. In this video essay, Clute and Edwards use the simple constraint of run time percentage to recombine iconic moments from 31 films noir and neo-noir, and in the process create a short film that is at once a noir narrative and an investigation into the narrative constraints embraced by noir.

Direct download: MTOE_VideoEssay.mp4
Category:Video Podcast -- posted at: 8:47 PM
Comments[2]

In June and July, Clute and Edwards will publish two new "Noircast Special" podcasts: a "video essay" that presents the central argument of Clute and Edwards' new book, The Maltese Touch of Evil: Film Noir and Potential Criticism, as a 6-minute film noir remix composed of clips investigated in the book; a conversation on noir between Shannon Clute and Jared Case (Head of Cataloguing and Research Center, George Eastman House). 

Beginning in August, 2011, Clute and Edwards will publish a new episode of Out of the Past: Investigating Film Noir each month!  Long overdue, these episodes will investigate several truly classic films noir and neo-noir that have often been requested by fans of the podcast, such as Night of the Hunter, Night and the City and L.A. Confidential.  Some of these episodes will include conversations with guest investigators, such as authors Christa Faust and Jonathan Santlofer.  Clute and Edwards will kick things off in August with a discussion of the hard-boiled literary, and film noir visual roots of L.A. Noire—the new video game from Rockstar Games.

Category:general -- posted at: 4:44 AM
Comments[1]

Reserve a copy of Clute and Edwards' new noir book today at Amazon.com: http://amzn.to/jCePwG

In December 2011, Dartmouth College Press (University Press of New England) will release Clute and Edwards' new study of film noir, The Maltese Touch of Evil: Film Noir and Potential Criticism.  This exciting book builds on crucial insights from the Out of the Past: Investigating Film Noir podcasts, and draws on the work of the experimental literary group Oulipo (an acronym for "Ouvroir de Littérature Potentielle," or "Workshop of Potential Literature") to investigate the extreme self-consciousness and high degree of visual punning exhibited by noir.  In the process, the book proposes—and serves as a sustained demonstration of—an OuFiNoPo, or Workshop of Potential Film Noir.  Part thinking-man’s fan crush, part crazily inspired remix of the most beloved of film genres, this study will help scholars and film fans alike to view film noir afresh, and achieve new insights into even the best known movies.  

Clute and Edwards have never solicited donations for their podcasts, for like all good things these podcasts are a labor of love.  But they would ask you to…

PLEASE GRAB A COPY of The Maltese Touch of Evil: Film Noir and Potential Criticism, and consider picking up other copies for all your movie-loving friends.

Category:general -- posted at: 2:27 AM
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