Inglorious Basterds: A Need for Noir

Film Noir is the ever-present, ever-changing element that has inspired film and served not only as a genre, but as something that infect other genres.  Another key role it plays is its ability to morph films even today.  This is because “Noir is almost entirely a creation of postmodern culture”(Naremore 14).  With these two ideas, it is easy to see how noir elements are heavily present in film today, serving as that ever-changing, ever-infecting agent.  Take how its infected the film Inglorious Basterds.


Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds struggles to be defined by a genre because of its unique ability to incorporate multiple film elements- the comic relief, the outlandish plot, romance, action, suspense, and more importantly, a noir factor.  Tarantino incorporates all of these ideas into his films in a way that is fast paced and something we have never seen before.  It is new even to our postmodern culture.  Though mixing the lines between genres is the way he achieves such an interesting story, this can only occur with the help of noir present in his films, specifically Inglorious Basterds.

Tarantino heavily relies on the femme fatale model in his character Shosanna to create a separate but significant storyline that moves the plot forward.  Shosanna’s story also serves as a way to blend romance, action, and suspense into his film.  From the very beginning of the film it is made clear that her story is important and will continue throughout the film.


The idea of corruption and the city is a little farfetched, but it is still present through Colonel Hans Landa.  Its better to say that the Colonel serves as corruption, for his initial role is the man who rounds up the jews, and then he switches to his duplicitous role at the end of the film where he actually helps the Basterds kill Hitler.  He is in it for himself, he will stop at nothing to get his, no matter who he kills or what he has to do , this man is as corrupt as they come based off selfish desires.  Colonel Hans Landa also bridges the action, suspense, comic genre divide.


One odd noir twist Tarantino places into his plot is his representation of hopelessness and despair through the Basterds.  The Basterds serve from a German perspective as the harbingers of death, whereas they represent success for Americans.  The focus in the film tends to be more on the German perspective for it is demonstrated on multiple occasions that life is over for these German soldiers.  Tarantino also uses this team to bridge the action, suspense, comic genre divide.


Noir elements are present throughout the film in various ways to help mold Tarantino’s story that bridges the genre divide.  He also uses noir to create a postmodern film that is enjoyed by society today.  Without noir present in this film, Tarantino would struggle crossing genre divides, and struggle creating an entertaining film.  Noir, the ever-changing element, the enigma of film, is something today’s film industry cannot do without.


Ellie’s Project: Fight Club

“This is your life, and it’s ending one minute at a time.”


For my analysis project I want to look at Fight Club and compare its neo-noir film elements with quintessential noir elements discussed throughout the course.  I would specifically like to address the themes of hopelessness, the fem fatal, corruption and the city, and I would also like to address the narrative of this film. Throughout my presentation my main point shall focus on how Fight Club has extended classic Noir and morphed it into something new.


Film compare/contrast analysis

Objective: to understand how film noir has influenced other genres over time.

Task: watch two films- a noir film of your choice from the past and a modern film that is considered noir or has noir influence.

Give a presentation, PowerPoint, video essay, anything you’d like to do that covers the following:

Brief synopsis of each film
What makes the modern film noir
What elements of noir are important in the older noir film
Compare/contrast the two films
Summarize the importance of these films and how they influence society- now & today

Criteria for a good grade will include the following:

Does your presentation provide informative, new information?
Does your presentation help create a better understanding for what we have discussed in the class
Do you present information in a clear concise manner.