CFP – Sound on Screen (6.1)

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  1. Chan says:

    in the latest Artforum:”Anticipated by the German Expressionists, dcesovired by French aesthetes, beloved by American film scholars, the atmospheric crime stories, paranoid policiers, and hard-boiled detective yarns known as film noir constitute the most stylized, self-consciously artistic tendency in Hollywood history. Compositions in convoluted flashback, tough-guy slang, and precisely adjusted venetian blinds—only bebop, which also developed during World War II, could claim to be a richer form of American avant-pop.Noir is its own place, but it belongs to Los Angeles; it is a dark shadow cast by the radiant City of Angels. A particular subset of film noir deals with local history—the city’s or the movies’. These are the Sunshine Noirs. Citizen Kane’s fake newsreels and haunted mansion anticipate Sunshine Noir, as Kane (1941) does all noir. Indeed, Orson Welles virtually defined Sunshine Noir when the naeff he played in The Lady from Shanghai (1947) spoke of “a bright, guilty world”—a phrase that has been widely, if erroneously, taken as referring to Los Angeles.Thanks to Hollywood, Los Angeles is the world’s most photographed metropolis and hence the most apparitional. As film historian Thom Andersen points out in his 2003 cine-essay, Los Angeles Plays Itself, this is a metropolis where motels or McDonald’s might be constructed to serve as sets and “a place can become a historic landmark because it was once a movie location.” The whole city is haunted by an imaginary past.Thus Sunshine Noir is also prefigured by the moody high-noon surrealism of Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid’s Meshes of the Afternoon (1943), with its doppelge4nger-ridden Hollywood bungalow; Sunshine Noir similarly flickers avant la lettre in Kenneth Anger’s fragmentary Puce Moment (1949), which also concerns ghosts in broad daylight, albeit from a more documentary viewpoint: Limned in Kodachrome against the Hollywood Hills, a young woman in a glamorous antique gown strikes the poses of a silent-movie star, at one point holding four Russian wolfhounds at leash.”

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