In a great number of Hollywood-movies from the 40s and 50s, a critical portrait of American society is delineated. These films find pictorial expressions for ongoing changes in society, portraying war impacts as well as changes in the sense of value, greed and an overwhelming urge for personal freedom. “Film noir”, as this phenomenon was named retrospectively by French critic Nino Frank in 1946, was developing new artistic forms for expressing these developments.
The noir-pictures tell stories of excitement and discomfort, betrayal and addiction, forlorness and defeat. They reject the conventions of classical Hollywood filmmaking. Thus, their strong aesthetics, their extreme lighting, experimental camera and expressive image composition marks one of Hollywood’s most influential and most imitated styles.
The exhibition presents this style’s elements on six large-scale screens. Accompanying the exhibition, a film programme in the museum’s cinema features classic noirs, influential earlier films and today’s expression of film noir in filmproduction all over the world.