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Classic HollywoodLifestyles and Film Styles of American Cinema, 1930-1960$
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Veronica Pravadelli

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780252038778

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252038778.001.0001

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The Male Subject of Noir and the Modern Gaze

The Male Subject of Noir and the Modern Gaze

Crises of the Subject and Representation

(p.72) 3 The Male Subject of Noir and the Modern Gaze
Classic Hollywood

Veronica Pravadelli

University of Illinois Press

This chapter discusses the transition between the classical war films of the early 1940s and the anticlassical film noirs of the later half of the decade. This period can be roughly described in terms of a dual crisis, seen at the level of representation and at the level of the subject's capacity to act and to know. The chapter then examines noir's visual and narrative regime, especially its ability to express in purely visual terms certain modern tenets such as the psyche's split nature, the notion of embodied subjectivity, and the failure of vision and seeing. Similarly, noir alters the function of verbal language: the protagonist's subjective narration is often the only key to knowledge and truth, and words seem to take up the role previously assigned to vision and action. Meanwhile deep focus photography alters the terms of visuality.

Keywords:   classical war films, anticlassical film noir, embodied subjectivity, verbal language, deep focus photography, visuality

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