Noir and information dissemination/disorientation

April 30, 2010 § Leave a comment

Wish could be there:

From: “Santos, Marlisa”

Seeking paper proposals for the following special session at this year’s
South Atlantic Modern Language Association Conference in Atlanta, GA,

Film noir is marked by complex narrative patterns-patterns that range from
mild convolution to dizzying disorientation. Interestingly, these twisted
narratives also coincide in noir with an age of communication
discovery-emerging technologies in radio, television, and print dissemination
of information abound in noir, often adding to the confusion of such
narratives rather than illuminating them. This session will explore the way
that various means for enhancing communication function in a cycle of films
that often display the worst consequences of mis- or non-communication, both
intentional or accidental. Analysis of any aspect of communication in noir
is welcomed: newspapers, radio, television, telegraph, telephone, letters,
messages on scraps of paper, codes, etc. By June 15, 2010 please send a
250-word abstract and short bio to

Marlisa Santos, Ph.D.

Director, Division of Humanities/Associate Professor

Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences

Nova Southeastern University

3301 College Ave./Fort Lauderdale, FL 33314

(954) 262-8213 / 1-800-757-7257, ext. 28213

Fax: (954) 262-3881

Rhetorical punctuation and noir films

February 13, 2007 § Leave a comment

Detour (1945)

A gripping noir film, talkative at times and a bit unconvincing in the depiction of Roberts’ emprisonment by Vera, but gripping nonetheless. Noir films replace love or power as the driving forces of tragedy, and replace it with the more democratic force of money. Instead of kings, bums and outcasts. Instead of Fate, greenbacks. But the tragic incapacity of its characters to break through, “to crash” as High Sierra‘s Roy Earle say it, is more poignant and just as powerful. Bums who want money, can’t think of nothing else, and will never get it, we’re sure. Their tragic flaw ? Some kind of naive sentimentality, some sort of belief that there is love, that with or without money the world will be theirs someday. That maddening belief, a romantic left-over, pushes them deeper into situation where money would be required, and the more they need it, the less they’ll have it. And thus popular, down-to-earth objects, a car, a telephone, a cigarette or an empty liquor bottle, a hat, a shrunken overcoat, a drugstore, those familiar objects of America, are transformed into tragic signs, figures of a fate bigger than the hero. Detour in its simple straighforward way gives a good example of this modern, regular tragedy.
a coffee mug ’twas all because of a coffee mug !
a juke-box detour4.png
detour5.png or a car…

But because familiar objects are so overpowering on the screen, doesn’t mean that a little rhetorical punctuation is not in order here and there, as in this change of light:

detour (1945)

February 12, 2007 § Leave a comment

Identify this road :
detour (1945) a long road West

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