Saturday, September 13, 2008

Books in black


I went to Book People today, among a host of other meandering through the city type activities. I was comforted to find a couple copies of Video Watchdog. There was little doubt that the city of The Alamo Drafthouse would have a source, but it was still comforting to actually see with my own eyes.

I saw and drooled over copies of some the Dian Hanson "History of Men's Magazines" volumes... err... I drooled over them for the desire to possess them and have them in my own private space where I would then drool over them for other reasons. Dammit!

I also saw CelebriDucks. The only choices there were Jesus, Buddha and Mr. T. I was a 12-year-old boy when The A-Team debuted, and even I think that's an odd combination of icons.

I also saw, not for the first time, the level to which old school Hardboiled and a real pulp aethetic are making a play for being The Next Big Thing. It makes me wish I was three steps further ahead with my film noir inspired story, but I'm not, so perhaps the time has come to be ahead of the game on the thing that'll be The Next Big Thing a time or two after this finally lands.

For the record, am I the only one who distiguishes between "Hardboiled" as the overall fiction style and "film noir" and even "noir" as cinematic style? I even know that the French had black paperback books that were called noir, much as the Italians had yellow paperbacks that were called gialli, which is what film noir then refers back to; the movies with the texture of the black books is a black movie, or "film noir", but somehow, to my ear, in English, noir still means movie.

It also means black and white movie. Period.

I love plenty of Neo-noir movies, but I consider that a different, albeit related, cinematic subgenre.

I say these things sometimes just to get them out there. It often intimidates people I say them to. I promise, I hold myself to bizarre standards that have nothing to do with how I expect other people, sane people, to act and think and write...

Well, ok... the "Hardboiled" vs. "noir" for the written word is a nitpick on my part that, as I say, isn't necessarily accurate. The color movies being called noir, that does bug me. Don't do it.


2 comments:

Cinefantastique Online said...

Noir or hard-boiled? I make a distinction, though not quite the one you make.

Years ago, before he started writing and directing movies, Paul Schrader made a pretty convincing case for considering Film Noir as a style rather than a genre.

Since then, I have used "Noir" or "Film Noir" to refer to the stylistic elements and "Hard-Boiled" to refer to plot elements.

This becomes especially useful when you get into so called "Neo-Noir" films, usually shot in color, which often have very little of the shadowy noir style about them.

Neil Sarver said...

Yes! That's the explanation I was looking for. Thank you!

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