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

Date: 15 May 2004

In a message dated 5/14/04 11:33:59 PM, writes:

<< 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. >>

this, for me, has always been the definition of noir. it's a philosophical approach rather than a stylistic one. authors and filmmakers who take this theme, which basically is similar to the idea of Original Sin- you're born screwed- are creating noir, no matter what the superficial stylistic elements may be. so by my definition, there have been plenty of noir films since 1964. and certainly no end of prose fiction.

John Lau

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