Film Noir

Film noir is not just a black and white movie. It is a cinematic term used primarily to describe stylish Hollywood crime dramas,  particularly such that emphasize cynical attitudes and sexual motivations.


  • Urban environment
  • Rain-soaked streets
  • Seedy taverns, diners and rundown buildings
  • Femme-fatale
  • Male detectives
  • Dark alleys
  • Dark lighting and intense shadows
  • Graphic scenes
  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Weapons


Film noir was coined by French film critics, first by Nino Frank in 1946,who noticed the trend of how ‘dark’, downbeat and black the looks and themes were of many American crime and detective films released in France.

Is Film Noir a genre?

It can be argued whether Film Noir is a genre as some people believe that it is the mood/tone of a film. People believe that it is a genre as it has some particular characteristics which aren’t in another genre and sets it apart from the other genres as it is distinctly different. However, I’m on the fence as I believe that it isn’t a genre as most of the characteristics are seen in other genres, such as the use of shadows which are popular in thrillers and low-key lighting but, on the other hand, it does have unique characteristics which aren’t used in other genres and can be clearly identified as a Film Noir just like other genres can be identified.

Top 10 Film Noir Examples:

  1. The Big Sleep (1946)
  2. Chinatown (1947)
  3. Touch of Evil (1958)
  4. Double Indemnity (1944)
  5. Out of the Past (1947)
  6. The Third Man (1949)
  7. Lift to the Scaffold (1958)
  8. Blood Simple (1984)
  9. Kiss Me Deadly (1955)
  10. They Live by Night (1948)

Top 5 Directors of Film Noir:

robert siodmak  1. Robert Siodmak (1900-1973) is best remembered as a thriller specialist and fora series of stylish, unpretentious Hollywood films noir’s he made in the 1940s.


fritz2. Fritz Lang (1890-1976) studied at the College of Technical Sciences of Vienna’s Academy of Graphic Arts but unhappy with the career path chosen for him by his parents, he ran away to study art in Munich and Paris. After WW1, he became a story editor, then screenwriter and actor.

otto3. Otto Preminger (1905-1986) directed his first film in 1931, and came to the US in 1936 to direct on the Broadway stage. He alternated between stage and film until the great success of ‘Laura’ in 1944 made him an A-list director in Hollywood.

orson4. Orson Welles (1915-1985) was an American actor, director, writer and producer who worked in theatre, radio and film and therefore had a wide range of knowledge of the entire media industry as well as film.


CLH1.CA.Of.0403.cover4.O.15. Billy Wilder (1906-2002) was a  filmmaker, screenwriter, producer, artist, and journalist for more than five decades and  directed 5 film noirs.



What Do I Think About Film Noir?

I have been inspired by film noir, mainly due to every shot being so aesthetically pleasing as when you pause it, that shot will be ‘picture-perfect’. I love the use of mise-en-scene and how it impacts the audience, especially lighting, costumes, make up and the overall atmosphere. I also love the storylines in film noir as they are all dramatic and include crime and drama.

Image result for film noir


Image result for film noir pll

Pretty Little Liars is an extremely popular American TV show which is aimed at female teenagers and their directors were influenced by film noir and decided to make an episode based on it (Season 4 Episode 9) which was a very popular episode. They followed traditional characteristics such as lighting and costume as female characters are wearing dresses and make up from that time which is very seductive (femme-fatale).

This episode brought film noir back to life and made many more people aware of it, including me. It also inspired my idea for my film noir. Here is the behind the scenes of the episode which includes the actors talking about film noir and their opinions of film noir.


Codes and Conventions of Short Film

Most commonly between 3-20 minutes but sometimes around 40 minutes.

Usually simple, easy to follow and based over a short amount of time. The narrative is usually condensed with limited dialogue as characters will be developed through images and actions.

Usually 1-3 characters as because of the time being limited in a short film so creating back stories and developing characters is challenging. The audience will not be bombarded with new characters or information. Short films will usually last only long enough to connect the audience to some characters.

A twist is a common convention but not a rule so isn’t followed by every short film. A twist will allow the film maker to have an interesting storyline. Moreover, because of the length of the film it will also reveal fewer clues about the ending so is harder to guess and the twist is therefore more likely to shock the audience.

Budgets are usually small as many short films are made by new film makers or ones that have little funding.

Short films allow more creativity and abstraction, they are usually made up of many creative shots and audio to create an artistic and unique piece. Directors or film makers have the chance to create their own signature look on the piece as there is less pressure to make a profitable film for a large audience.

Niche Audience:
Short films have a lot smaller and niche audience than mainstream due to the creative nature, length and simple storyline. Furthermore, many people aren’t aware of short films as they aren’t advertised as much as mainstream films, despite their easy accessibility to watch online in places such as YouTube.

Short films convey strong emotion such as: laughter, pleasure, sadness or anger, sometimes making comments on morals or society in the process. Short films can be more powerful as they can get the audience thinking about a particular topic or make something appear differently to how it is without having the time to think while watching, thus leaving them to contemplate after the film has finished.

Online Distribution:
Unlike mainstream film, short films are largely accessible for free through the internet. There are many sites who distribute short films online from independent to established sites such as the BBC. Short films are rarely shown in cinemas or on TV so online is the best way to distribution but some can be bought on DVD but very few. As short film is based much more on creativity and expression rather than mainstream and profit, it is much more important for the film maker to reach a wide audience and distribute films to them for free.

Opposition to Mainstream:
Many of these codes and conventions are different to the mainstream film codes and conventions due to short films holding an entirely different format and style and short films most commonly try to give the audience a different outlet to mainstream films.


Initial Ideas

I came up with an idea for my continuity task in AS Media of a chase scene, however, we never used the idea. From this, I have decided to develop the idea to make it an action thriller.

It will be based around a male character who narrates at first talking about his ‘normal’ life and how its ‘bliss’ to him, especially after the ‘incident’ even though most people believe that normal is ‘boring’. What happened in his past will come back to haunt him and he receives anonymous text messages and calls and even pictures of his girlfriend and him going about their daily routine. He then gets followed by the anonymous person which is when the chase scene begins, however, throughout the scene there will be flashbacks to the ‘incident’ which turns out to be a murder. It will then finish with him going home and his girlfriend asking about his day, but behind her through the window is the anonymous person looking right at him. This is when I will leave the short film on a cliff hanger.

My mind map of the idea in detail


Mood board

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Main influences

In the film ‘Hush’ I was inspired by the scene which the protagonist gets sent a picture of herself and therefore lets her know that she’s not alone. I would love to use this idea but change it slightly to fit with my idea and then have the chase scene continue.

It is shown here in the trailer 50 seconds in:

My Chosen Brief: Short Film

I have decided to create a short film as I have a love of films and will hopefully be involved in the film industry in the future. Making a short film will give me experience and an insight into the industry and also advance my technical skills such as camera work, sound, editing and mise-en-scene from my title sequence in AS. I also would love to do film studies at university, therefore meaning that doing a short film will be very beneficial, giving me experience and extending my skills.

Furthermore, I love the idea of being able to leave my main task on a cliff hanger which many short films do. This will draw in the audience and impact them immensely and ask questions such as “what will happen next?” etc and therefore result it in being a memorable short film.

I ruled out the advertising brief immediately as I would have to include the business side to it, by making a suitable product. As well as this, I’d have to create a radio advert but I’m not fully advanced in audio yet.

As I will be working independently I’m excited that I can create my vision and execute it how I would like. Moreover, it will eliminate any differences of opinion and I can get the work done when I would like to and hopefully have time to edit or change anything in my video if needed/wanted.

My chosen ancillary texts are:

  • ›A poster for the film
  • A film magazine review page featuring the film


My Opening Title Sequence From AS


My opening title sequence opens with ‘ICE PRODUCTIONS PRESENTS’ in bold white typography against a black background which creates a binary opposition between innocence and purity VS evil and darkness. The sound score creates an eerie atmosphere. The EXU of the antagonist’s eyes looking straight into the lens (breaking the fourth wall) makes the audience feel uncomfortable and on-edge, furthermore, the high-pitched non-diegetic screeching sound effects also do this.

Later on the diegetic creepy child-like laugh also makes the audience uncomfortable. Moreover, the antagonist is clearly a teenager however, she is dressed as a child, wearing pink which is a colour associated with young girls and therefore suggests to the audience that the antagonist is mentally unstable. This becomes clear when the antagonist throws the red lipstick (which is symbolic of danger) and then a cut reveals her as a completely different character, highlighting her split personality disorder which is shown through a MS.

Next, a BEV shot reveals the antagonist’s dark intentions. A ECU of the character’s hands crossing out a female’s face in red implies to the audience that the antagonist has murdered her. The sound effects get louder and more intense, making it nearly unbearable for the audience to listen to. The ‘Target” page at the end illustrates that she has intentions to murder more victims, but will she do it? The audience never find out as the title sequence is left on a cliff hanger, leaving them with many unanswered questions and ensures that the audience will carry on watching.


A2 Media Briefs

For our main task video we get to choose from an option of four briefs:

Audio (Music Video):

A promotion package for the release of an album, to include a music promo video, no longer than five minutes duration, together with two of the following:

  • A cover for its release as part of a digipack (CD package)
  • ›A magazine advertisement for the album release
  • ›A website homepage for the band

I think that music video’s are extremely hard to make as you need advanced technical skills, especially editing as in many music video’s there are lots of different locations and shots and use synchronous sound to match the cuts and whats happening on-screen with the music. However, if I can become more confident in editing and advance my skills then this would be a great brief to choose.

Professional example:

Student example:

Short Film:

A short film in its entirety, lasting approximately five minutes, which may be live action or animation or a combination of both, together with two of the following:

  • ›A poster for the film
  • A film magazine review page featuring the film
  • A website homepage for the film

I love the idea of making a short film as I could choose any genre and be creative. I like the technical aspects and the details that will need to be included such as mise-en-scene and sound. Also, due to my love of films, I would love to make my own one and therefore learn how to make them and gain experience. Furthermore, I already have some idea of what I’d like to do for this brief and I believe it would be amazing if I can pull off the idea. I would make a poster to promote the film and a magazine review.

Professional example (made by Pixar):

Student example:


An advertising package for a new product or service, to include two TV advertisements, together with two of the following:

  • A TV programme sponsorship sequence
  • A radio advertisement
  • A web pop-up

I like the idea of doing an advert however, I don’t think it would be creative enough for me as most adverts are minimalistic. On the other hand, I’d love to learn how to make a web pop-up.

Professional example:

Student examples:

Film Trailer:

A promotion package for a new film, to include a teaser trailer, together with two of the following:

  • A film magazine front cover, featuring the film
  • A poster for the film
  • A website homepage for the film

I believe a film trailer would be extremely hard to make as you need lots of different locations and lots of shots as in a trailer there are usually many short shots and lots of cuts. This will make filming it difficult as I would need to find many locations and spend lots of time filming in order to get many short scenes which can be used.

Professional example:

Student example: