Screenshot 1: TITLE. Our film title is DANS LE NOIR. It is short, catchy and memorable. French for ‘In the Black’, the title is easily translatable for anyone with a level of education above that of a mountain goat. We used the conventions of a short title that isn’t always in English to give an exotic yet depressive feel to the film. In some of the Film Noir pieces that we analysed, we found that recurring themes such as simple, bold titles were commonplace and for good reason. We quickly established the feel and direction for the film and we think that our titles are easy to read and in-keeping with the darker tones of the piece.
Screenshot 2: SETTING. We wanted our locations to be gritty, dirty and dark. Think – Inception, a Neo-Noir masterpiece which opens in Limbo, with crumbling skyscrapers and dirty waves. The building that the lead character walks out of in the opening shot is a business classroom block in our school campus. While white, it is grotty and pretty scarred due to frozen Scottish winds and rain. It fit the conventions of the genre, with a depressed feel that worked well with our story. We didn’t want to film our piece in a bright, spotless clean environment because it would kill the mood and dark feel.
Screenshot 3: COSTUME. The costume in our film was easy to choose because we wanted all of the colours to be dark. The victim in the film is wearing a dark green wax coat and black jeans with common Adidas shoes, that were available in 1994, (we checked). The killer is also wearing dark clothes but his hat and long hair separate the two characters and there is no way that they could be confused. The detective characters in the film are clearly distinguishable from an ordinary person, such as the victim or a bystander due to their detective trench coats. We thought that this was in-keeping with the genre’s conventions when it comes to characters.
Screenshot 4: CAMERA WORK. We shot the majority of our films shots from a low level, to present the characters as strong or fearsome. The low angles let every inch of the characters be in the shot so that the viewer can develop a relationship with them early on in the piece. The variety of shots used make the piece more interesting because if we used a boring mid-shot for two and a half minutes, then it would be dreadfully boring and we would lose the audience’s attention. We noticed that the camera angles in the Film Noir examples that we watched were all varied and decided not to challenge the trend as it clearly works to hold attention and build suspense.
Screenshot 1 (use again): FONT AND STYLE. Our film title uses a ‘typewriter’ style font to emphasise the fact that it is set in the past, even though the typewriter was beyond obsolete by 1994, (when our piece is set). We wanted the font to give the viewer a feeling of nostalgia, or at least to be reminded in the opening titles that the film is set in the past. A basic and straightforward title screen, we felt that it was appropriate for the realistic nature of the film. The font styles that we chose for our establishing opening credits were all incredibly simple and did not detract from what the audience were seeing in terms of content or shots.
Screenshot 5: STORY/NARRATIVE. Our film uses the conventions of the genre and has a protagonist vs antagonist narrative like most Film Noir pieces. We have two detectives chasing a bowler hat wearing, Italian speaking hit man and if we were to film the entire film, there would be many close encounters and suspense building chases. Following on from the conventions of the genre, the antagonist is clever and difficult to apprehend. This forces the audience to side with the protagonist/s and they build an emotional attachment to them. We thought that this conventional method of storytelling worked fine, so why fix something that isn’t broken?
Screenshot 6: GENRE/SUGGESTIONS OF IT. The screenshot for this section shows the genre conventions in a good way to explain our reasoning. The shot shows a lightly damaged building in grey, wet conditions in the dark. Keeping in check with the genre’s conventions, this shot isn’t colourful or bright. We chose this because we enjoy the genre’s bases and didn’t want to challenge them in this way, as the tried-and-tested system works just fine.
Screenshots 7 & 8: CHARACTERS. These two shots show our four characters. We have two detectives, so that we could play on a conflict storyline between the two of them if we were to film the whole piece. We have the hitman and we have the victim, a mafia boss’s son. They are fairly simple characters but they don’t need any depth to them to stay interesting, especially as we were only filming the opening titles.
Screenshot 9: SFX. We didn’t use any CGI or any expensive visual trickery in our film but we decided to put it in black and white, following the conventions of the Film Noir genre, more popular in it’s earlier days, when colour film wasn’t available. We filmed across several days, so light levels varied and we fixed it with a B&W filter. We liked the convention and didn’t want to challenge it.