Answer both (I) and (II: A or B). Do not write on the same film twice. Each answer should be three pages long (double-spaced, 12 point Times new Roman type, with one-inch margins). Your answers should incorporate a consideration of film style (visual and aural). Avoid unnecessary retelling, but where relevant include specific lines of dialogue and other elements. Feel free to refer to any of the critical readings when relevant.
(1)Paul Schrader says in Note on Film Noir that by the mid-1950s, film noir had ground to a halt, but adds that there were a few notable stragglers including Kiss Me Deadly and Touch of Evil. Schraders comment suggests that the films may be seen retroactively, in relation to the earlier first-generation of noir films. But can they also be seen as anticipations of neo-noir, in relation to a new critical and revisionary attitude toward such themes as race, sexuality and gender roles, and violence, as well as to formal aspects such as narrative structure and reflexivity? Discuss that possibility by discussing one of the stragglers and one (or two) of the neo-noirs.
(2)A) James Naremore writes in More Than Night that ultimately Pulp Fiction lacks the seriousness and originality of the best of the historical film noirs; it repeats history as bloody, inconsequential farce rather than as tragedy or cutting edge satire. Assess this statement by considering its merits in relation to Pulp Fiction and one other neo-noir that you believe could be criticized on the same grounds or could be praised for finding a new approach to noir that avoids the problems behind Naremores Condemnation of Pulp Fiction.
B) Naremore writes of L.A. Confidential that is uses the past superficially and hypocritically. On the one hand, it attacks Hollywood of the 1950s, making easy jokes about the reality behind old-style show business; on the other hand, it exploits every convention of the dream factory, turning history into a fashion show and allowing good to triumph and over evil. The films primary appeal seems to be its stylish look Assess this statement by considering its merits in relation to L.A. Confidential and one other neo-noir that you believe could be criticized on the same grounds or could be praised for finding a new approach to noir that avoids the problems behind Naremores condemnation of L.A. Confidential.
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