Dark Places

Term: Spring 2011

Subject Code: GLIB

Course Number: 6154

The term cinema noir was first coined in 1946 by a French film critic who, viewing American films like Double Indemnity for the first time after World War II, focused on their similarities, and labeled what he saw noir, or "black." Noir thus became the name for a post-war genre of morally-ambiguous crime films and the pulp novels that frequently inspired them. Yet with the passage of time, it has become ever clearer that noir is not just a matter of stylized low-key lighting and cynical gunplay. From our own standpoint, the fearful sensibility of noir is as elemental as Shakespeare's Macbeth, as sophisticated as the expressionist songs of Arnold Schoenberg. Today one even hears talk of noir fashion, noir design, noir poetry, noir comics. Aided by distinguished guest lecturers from an array of disciplines, this course approaches noir with a critical eye toward its numerous iterations, both old and new. The course coincides with a university-wide festival on noir, in its widest conception, to be held on campus in April 2011.

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