Film Noir

When beginning our project for the theme ‘All the world is staged’ we all decided that we really wanted to create a strong character in which we could portray throughout the shoot in order to establish a narrative and make the shoot appear more ‘real.’ We knew from the start that we wanted to create a ‘Film Noir’ style shoot but we were unsure of what narrative we would use to portray our subject’s character effectively. In thinking about what kind of person our subject would be. A member of our group suggested that we could base our shoot on the 1940’s film ‘Double Indemnity.’

This film was created in 1944 and directed by Billy Wilder.  Its a classic film within the ‘Film Noir’ and is a cynical, witty, and sleazy thriller about adultery, corruption and murder. This film influenced by James M. Cain’s 1943 melodramatic novella Three of a Kind that first appeared in 1935. The main character, Phyllis Dietrichson (played by Barbara Stanwyck) Is a cunning, manipulative and powerful woman who plans to murder her husband with the intention of inheriting his fortune in life insurance money. She does this with the help of Walter Neff (played by Fred MacMurray), a greedy insurance agent, who throughout the film is seen to be very weak. He is seduced by her apparent weak persona which she fakes in order to get him to murder her husband.

In order for us to get an idea of what we wanted to create in the shoot we collected a variety of film stills to base our ideas upon:

After thinking about this theme and looking at the film stills we really like the strong dramatic lighting used throughout. With the combination of this and the other artists researched this week, we decided that the best way to do this would be to use studio lighting to create very directional lighting. Hopefully when doing this we will be able to recreate the dark shadows and Expressionist lighting of the modern cities, shown within the film.

Im looking forward to seeing how well this shoot will turn out. And perhaps, even more than that, Im looking forward to getting feedback to see if these ideas that we employ in our shoot come across and are effective.


© Kirstie Wilkinson


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