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Term: Film Noir

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French for “black film”. Having adopted many of the stylistic devices used in films of the German Expressionism movement of the 1920s and 1930s, the films of this genre formed a gloomy counterbalance to the almost exclusively optimistic world of musicals and films of the same time. In particular, the film noir genre was a reflection of the growing critical discussion about the constrained optimism relating to the American Dream during the time after World War II. In keeping with some of the sombre detective novels published at this time, the settings of these films are especially gloomy and pessimistic: the story is often set in an urban moloch, featuring an anti-hero, struggling with his inner conflicts.

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