Post-noir: Getting back to business

Part of book or chapter of book English OPEN
Bould, M. (2014)
  • Publisher: Edinburgh University Press

‘Post-noir’ is, like all noir labels, heavily contested; even the need for it is open to question. Drawing on Fredric Jameson, Anne McClintock, Jean-François Lyotard and Kwame Anthony Appiah, this essay examines several specific – and contradictory – uses of the term/concept to identify its potential utility in distinguishing between and grouping together varieties of noir filmmaking at this current conjuncture. Following the example of Jennifer Fay and Justus Nieland, this essay treats noir as a mode of exploring the effects of a global capitalism on local cultures. A transnational thriller such as The International (2009) depicts the kinds of corruption that have become ‘business as usual’. More localised conspiracy narratives – the Colombian Perder es cuestión de método/The Art of Losing (2004), the Indian Manorama Six Feet Under (2007) – incorporate a stronger sense of the lives impoverished by corporate globalisation. The US Frozen River (2008) and the Chinese Mang jing/Blind Shaft (2003) focus on the local but pointedly connect immiserated lives to the circulation of global capital. If ‘post-noir’ does have a use, perhaps it is this: to describe contemporary noir that, after all that gleeful pastiche, has gotten back to the business of critique.
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