economic boon

anonymous asked:

What exactly does "noir" mean in film?

HI, well this won’t be the textbook definition of “film noir,” but for me it’s a style of film, usually Hollywood movies, popular in the United States from approximately the end of WWII until around the mid-1950s (some consider Robert Aldrich’s 1955 Kiss Me Deadly the last “true” film noir), which contain certain similarities in style and substance (and forgive the brevity and reductiveness of this list, film noir is a large and complex genre): 

––A grim, often nihilistic tone and philosophical bent. Usually a crime story with a tragic or bittersweet ending.

––A story about a protagonist who faces an unsolvable mystery or otherwise is made to feel small and helpless in a confusing and hostile world/environment, overwhelmed by forces he (or more rarely, she) cannot control. 

––Black and white photography with high contrast images and often oblique and severe angles reminiscent of German expressionism in the silent film era. (Many German directors actually fled Nazi Germany to Hollywood and directed a lot of the best films noir.)

––Iconic “femmes fatale,” women characters who often seduced male protagonists to their doom, Siren-style, who used their sexuality to get what they wanted, and were usually pitted against contrasting “good girls” vying for the protagonist’s affection. (Direct descendants of the “mols” in gangster films, the precursors to films noir.)

There are some films noir which don’t fit the prototype to a “T,” and these are actually some of my favorites, for example Nicholas Ray’s In a Lonely Place, which is about a screenwriter (Humphrey Bogart) trying to overcome his violent tendencies to find love (with Gloria Grahame). 

I am particularly intrigued by femmes fatale, because at first blush it would appear to be a rather misogynistic trope, demonizing women’s sexuality, but upon deeper study seems to be a moment of empowerment for women in film. Men coming home from fighting in WWII returned to find that out of necessity, women in America had broken many of the bonds of gender rolls to enter the workplace outside the home, and many of these women, married and otherwise, had taken lovers while their beaus were off fighting. So this confused and frightened men’s (already fragile lol) egos, and they didn’t know where they fit in society anymore. This is a popular theory about films noir and femmes fatale anyway, but I buy into it to some extent. I think men were as … aroused as they were frightened by women’s newfound independence, and this was reflected in these films. In a way, the femmes fatale in these movies were the first women to be operating on equal footing with the male protagonists of American cinema and men and women viewers alike were intoxicated by this. It’s true that in these films the women were often punished for their independence, but at the same time the movies hardly made this seem like a just outcome, and in fact the moral grayness of films noir is one of the most modern and attractive things about the genre then and now. There was an old-world sensibility to many of these films (not in small part due to what I mentioned before about European directors and writers migrating to America during this time), and American’s fascination with this “otherness” was also a result of WWII and the economic boon that proved to be for the US. It reflected the angst and anxiety and terrible cost of the newfound freedoms afforded the new middle class in this country. 

Anyway, a few of my favorites are:

In a Lonely Place

Gilda

Laura

Kiss Me Deadly

Act of Violence

The Third Man

The Narrow Margin

On Dangerous Ground

Out of the Past

Clash By Night

Born to Kill

Okay, and I haven’t touched on neo-noir films, but we’ll save that for another day, lol. (Needless to say I love the genre, and many of my favorite modern directors were/are heavily inspired by film noir, from David Lynch to Michael Mann.) Thanks for asking, hope that was helpful!

Originally posted by nitratediva

Out of the Past, 1947, dir. Jacques Tourneur.

In the early 1960s, supersonic variable fighter models like the American Sabre family, the VF-100, and the MiGYa-19 became increasingly widespread; however, European nations desired a supersonic design of their own, wanting a design better suited for their needs; additionally, Western Europe wanted the economic boon that they knew advanced aerospace production would bring. The Fiat, Dassault, and Messerschmitt groups convened to develop Western Europe’s first supersonic variable fighter. Equipped with a slim fuselage, a thin, efficient delta wing, and an engine that was fairly powerful for its time, the new European Aerospace Complex’s Mirage F.3 represented a massive leap forward for Western Europe. Though its delta wing configuration impaired the aircraft’s energy retention through turning maneuvers, it boasted a top speed of Mach 1.8, unheard of for its time, and could carry a substantial load of weapons suspended off the sides of its arm pylons, an arrangement that avoided cluttering most of the wing with stores pylons. The EAC F.3 proved to be a compact and agile platform on the ground, with a tightly-arranged ambulatory configuration that protected weak points and the cockpit while maximizing mobility. Though the F.3 had barely reached Initial Operational Capability when the First Incursion war began, its teething flaws were ironed out with the brute force of desparation and over 400 were produced by the end of the war. The F.3 continued in production until finally made obsolete by new lifting-body designs in the 1980s.

The strike of the Missouri Tiger college football team does more than raise the visibility of the struggle against racism. It has the very real potential of actually forcing the removal of Tim Wolfe, University of Missouri President, from his position and getting someone in the seat of authority capable of addressing this poisonous campus climate. That’s because the Missouri football players—like all big time college football players—hold a deep social power. The student body is just 7% black, yet 58 of the school’s 84 scholarship football players are African American. There is no football team without black labor. That means there aren’t million dollar coaching salaries without black labor. There isn’t a nucleus of campus social life without black labor. There isn’t the weekly economic boon to Columbia, Missouri, bringing in millions in revenue to hotels, restaurants, and other assorted businesses without black labor. The power brokers of Columbia need these games to be played. Yet if the young black men and those willing to stand with them—and there are white teammates publicly standing with them—aren’t happy with the grind of unpaid labor on a campus openly hostile to black students, they can take it it all down, just by putting down their helmets, hanging up their spikes, and folding their arms.
—  Dave Zirin - Black Mizzou Football Players Are Going on Strike Over Campus Racism
There is no football team without black labor. That means there aren’t million dollar coaching salaries without black labor. There isn’t a nucleus of campus social life without black labor. There isn’t the weekly economic boon to Columbia, Missouri, bringing in millions in revenue to hotels, restaurants, and other assorted businesses without black labor. The power brokers of Columbia need these games to be played. Yet if the young black men and those willing to stand with them—and there are white teammates publicly standing with them—aren’t happy with the grind of unpaid labor on a campus openly hostile to black students, they can take it it all down, just by putting down their helmets, hanging up their spikes, and folding their arms.
—   “Black Mizzou Football Players Are Going on Strike Over Campus Racism:
In a game changer that could bring down a university president, the Missouri football players are showing just how powerful their labor is.” By Dave Zirin
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My friend Daniel - photographer, biologist, artist, friendliest person ever - is working on a photo project that highlights staff and volunteers of The Field Museum along with their favorite collections items.

Posing with artifacts and specimens brings a certain ingenuity to the object; perhaps it would otherwise be something easily overlooked in a drawer, its history buried in comparative numbers. Singling out individual articles stresses their inherent uniqueness, and we’re drawn in with a curiosity trying to puzzle out why, out of 27 million items in this museum, these particular people chose the specimens in their hands.

There’s a visceral connection between Laura’s gaze and that agave lace: she’s looking at it so lovingly and holding it so carefully, as if she’s imagining herself sitting in awe at the foot of the person who painstakingly knit the fibers together and watching the entire process come together. Having seen her knit her own scarves on our way home one evening I can fathom the respect she has for not only the collections but also the people responsible for their creation and care.

Throughout Daniel’s portraits he’s been able to capture so well a humbling sense of gratification and pride, a mood that reflects our joy of being here because of the love we have for this world and its achievements. We’re all bursting with the same sense of wonder. 

Check out more portraits in his series, including questions answered by the featured scientists.