He Done It: Toxic Masculinity & Film Noir

As evidence of persistent police violence dominates social media, it is time to reconsider the affordances we extend to law enforcement. While there is a growing awareness of the harm done by police globally, there are still many who believe that police are always, unquestionably justified. This course examines how an attitude of affordance is represented in film noir.

Film noir is riddled with problematic protagonists. As long as the (almost always male) detective is capable of solving a mystery, audiences will root for a character that assaults women and exploits the poor. The brooding detective is a contemporary Byronic hero, and it is crucial to examine how romanticizing being “above the law” in popular culture impacts the livelihood of real people.

This is a critical analysis course. The major assignments focus on research and writing. For the final assignment students will have the option to write a critical analysis paper, or create a video essay.

Viewings include:
Sunset Boulevard, Billy Wilder
Bladerunner, Ridley Scott
Under the Silver Lake, David Robert Mitchell
Readings include:
The Rough Guide to Film Noir, Alexander Ballinger
In a Lonely Street: Film Noir, Genre, Masculinity, Frank Krutnik
The Philosophy of Neo-Noir, Mark T. Conard
Full syllabus requests can be sent to vfortehernandez@gmail.com

Featured image from I Wake Up Screaming directed by H. Bruce Humberstone