Nice ladies, smart guns and cool hats are typical elements of Film Noir. In the classic period of Film Noir (1941-1958), movie critics mocked of these low-budget B movies. Important movies of this period were, for example, The Maltese Falcon (1941), Double Indemnity (1944) or D.O.A. (Dead On Arrival, 1950).
However, in the meanwhile Film Noir became a major style in movie making. Neo Noir brought us great movies like Taxi Driver (1976), Blade Runner (1982), Pulp Fiction (1994), Kill Bill (2003) and Sin City (2005). Even Batman (1989) is based on the fantastic Film Noir style.
But what makes the Film Noir such exciting for a photography project?
There are a three basic elements that are essential for Film Noir. First, the Film Noir style requires low-key lighting which is a challenge to photographers. Second, shadows play an important role. Think about the tall shadow of the bad guy coming down a rainy street. Third, cigarette smoke, alcohol and rain are used to create the rough, imperfect and dangerous Film Noir world.