By Alistair Rolls
A longstanding false impression surrounding the time period French noir means that the post-war French mystery and movie noir have been a improvement of, or reaction to, a pre-existing American culture. This publication demanding situations this false impression, interpreting the complexity of this trans-Atlantic alternate and refocusing debate to incorporate a Franco-French lineage.
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A longstanding false impression surrounding the time period French noir means that the post-war French mystery and movie noir have been a improvement of, or reaction to, a pre-existing American culture. This publication demanding situations this false impression, analyzing the complexity of this trans-Atlantic trade and refocusing debate to incorporate a Franco-French lineage.
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Extra resources for French and American Noir: Dark Crossings
Naremore 1998: 23) In order to see how this cultural phenomenon of an unstable national self-identity is portrayed by Boris Vian’s noir ﬁction, our ﬁrst step, ironically, will be to discard his American persona and to refocus on the project on which he was working under his own name even as he was hastily writing J’irai cracher sur vos tombes. For while it is interesting to study the most widely read of Vian’s novels as a pastiche of noir ﬁction, which is how J’irai cracher sur vos tombes is traditionally considered, a more fruitful way of gauging the predominant mood in Paris in the years following the Liberation is to study the noir aspects of what may be termed ‘mainstream’ literature.
One thing is becoming evident, now that mythology has replaced empirical reality as the favoured means of conceiving of this epoch: this haze was less jazzy than it was noir. In its occlusion of right and wrong, of black and white (one good reason for not translating noir is that, perversely, it is rather more than a shade of grey; it is a confusion of black and white), noir foregrounds a harsh reality at the expense of delusional aspirations. Nothing is clear-cut in noir, just as for the French people of the time Frenchness itself had come adrift from any solid underpinnings.
Like Baudelaire, Burma too will look into the woman’s eyes (unlike the fetishist whose ﬁxation on the legs serves to avoid the alighting of his eyes on the source of truth), detecting in them a hint of fear belied by her outward show of purpose and composure. Both passers-by fuse the Fetishistic Noir 25 ‘sweetness that fascinates’ and the ‘pleasure that kills’; both will force a certain truth to emerge from the obfuscating background of the city streets. And as the Baudelaire of Les Fleurs du mal paints truth and beauty into his poems with the voyeuristic control of one who represents belatedly, Burma will concentrate on his past even as the present erupts all around him.