Film Noir is a genre of film that is most commonly associated with stylish crime dramas with a cynical worldview. The term film noir is derived from the French, meaning “black film” or film of the night, and refers not only to the generally bleak tone, but also to the high contrast “chiaroscuro” look that employs large areas of shadow to dominate the frame. These films gained popularity in the post-world war two era, when the American public became disillusioned due to the stresses of war.
Common conventions of film noir involve the femme fatale, hard-boiled detectives, urban settings, and the criminal underworld. Many argue that film noir is more of a style, consisting of uneven framing, disorienting angles, and partially obscured subjects. Thematically, film noir deals with moral ambiguity, cynicism toward humanity and overt sexuality.