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Contemporary DriftGenre, Historicism, and the Problem of the Present$
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Theodore Martin

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780231181921

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231181921.001.0001

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Situating Noir

(p.57) Chapter Two Revival
Contemporary Drift

Theodore Martin

Columbia University Press

Chapter 2 develops a new understanding of how to account for the revival of a genre like film noir. Because noir has haunted American culture since the 1940s, it is hard to know how we are supposed to situate or contextualize it. Reading classic noir films alongside contemporary ones, I redefine the noir genre as a prolonged study in the problem of situating ourselves in the present. Ultimately, I argue, noir’s repeated revivals compel us to rethink the very idea of the “historical situation,” and thus to expand our sense of what it means to be contemporary in the post-45 era.

Keywords:   revival, film noir, historicism, situation, media, voiceover

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