Hum73 due on Thursday night by 11:59pm

Double Indemnity

Double Indemnity (Wilder, 1944). Look! It’s grocery store stocked with goods! Oh, and some shadiness, as per usual Noir films.

Film Noir & Film Melodrama — Discussion

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Screening Options:
    • As usual, read the watch list in this module to see your choices.
  • Deadlines:
    • Thursday night by 11:59pm: Respond to my prompts; follow the instructions below.
    • Sunday night by 11:59pm. Respond to another student in a substantive way. Go far beyond “I agree” or “great post.” Engage with someone else’s ideas by doing something like asking a question, comparing posts, applying her/his example to your own post, come up with an alternative perspective, or similar. The goal is to expand the conversation.
  • Use The Readings:
    • The entire purpose of these discussions is to synthesize the readings (and lectures) with the film. Use quotations, bring in terms or concepts… find ways to illuminate the film by way of applying the readings.
  • Images:
    • Embedded images are really important for film discussions. See instructions below as to how you can easily capture and embed images from the film. If you choose not to include images there will be a small but not catastrophic point deduction.

Film Noir Screening Questions:

  • Prompt: Write a substantive paragraph in response to one or more of the following. Feel free to combine questions.
    • How/when does the film look typically “noir” in aesthetics?
    • What made you feel uneasy? Note what made you feel uneasy and explain how that is typical of the genre, and why it’s worth noting “feeling” for this genre in particular.
    • What taboos or social/cultural issues are raised in the film? This is a typical feature of the genre: to go where most movies will not. What topics come up, by implication or explicitly, that would be considered taboo or even unspeakable?
    • Given the reading materials’ coverage of the Hays Code, what aspects of the code made it past the studio code enforcer (i.e., content narc)?
    • Given noir’s specific treatment of the family unit, how does it fare in your flim?
    • The femmes fatale is a defining feature of the genre, and speaks to some seriously ambivalent (to put it lightly) views of women. Who is the femmes fatale in your film, and how is she just as destructive as our readings suggest?
    • Most importantly, in what ways does your film express the themes specific to Noir films? Explain how by describing the character and any relevant narrative events or plot lines.

Melodrama Screening Questions:

  • Prompt: Write a substantive paragraph in response to one or more of the following. Feel free to combine questions.
    • How does the film project a paradoxical view of America, at once celebrating and questioning basic values of the audience?
    • How did Sirk (or Curtiz, if you watched Mildred) remind us that there’s no simple escape from social realities?
    • What social realities are broached and how so? (Consider class, gender, race, sex roles, etc.)
    • How does the set design (setting, props, clothing, hair, makeup, lighting) “speak” for repressed characters? See the readings for the importance of this question.
    • What are some important moment that involved: fragile objects, hard surfaces, claustrophobic framing, and dramatic staircase interactions? What tensions are expressed through these features?
    • What spaces, gestures, actions, objects, etc., are over-stylized? Explain how so, and why this is a defining feature of the melodrama.
    • What about the ending is left without motivation or logical resolution? What are you left thinking about after the film is over?

IMAGES REQUIRED! Yes we’ve arrived at the part of the class where a post without a picture is like Star Wars without R2D2 (unthinkable!). CLICK HERE to view my screenshot collecting guide. I also highly recommend making use of the EMBEDDING SANDBOX discussion. Canvas might make this process unnecessarily challenging but we can prevail!

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