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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]

 

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

In December 2011, Dartmouth College Press (University Press of New England) released 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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