RARA-AVIS: Re: RARA-AVIS Digest V6 #145

From: Donna ( donna.moore@virgin.net)
Date: 15 May 2004

Hi All,

Mark wrote:

> And if "noir" is just a brandname and marketing tool, as it was for
> Duhamel, then can't it evolve through marketing, and the buying public?
> The closest analogy I can think of is with punk rock and new wave.

Interesting post Mark, and I enjoyed your punk rock analogy :o)

As for the definition, well, I think you're all right, and, furthermore, that you're never going to agree, but I guess that's part of the fun :o)

There's was a marvellous panel at Bouchercon in Las Vegas with Eddie Muller, Con Lehane, Rudy Franchi and Marianne MacDonald. They had some great things to say including the quote from someone whose name I've forgotten, that noir is:

"... when the character is "f***ed on page 1 and it doesn't get any better". That will do as a definition for me, as will Eddie's distinction between noir atmosphere and noir content.

There's a great quote from the movie Detour which catches the feel of noir for me:

"That's life - Whichever way you turn, fate sticks out a foot to trip you up."

For me, 'hardboiled' holds out some hope, whereas 'noir' doesn't. There's something compelling about a noir protagonist that keeps you reading, and, sometimes, hoping that he'll win through, even though you know that any light at the end of the tunnel is just a really, really big train.

To be honest, I don't care what the strict definition is (especially since no two people can agree!), I just like to sit back and enjoy it - whatever it is. Analysing stuff to death can take the fun out of it.


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