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Film Noir and the Cinema of Paranoia$
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Wheeler Winston Dixon

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780748623990

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748623990.001.0001

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Living in Fear

Living in Fear

(p.153) Chapter 6 Living in Fear
Film Noir and the Cinema of Paranoia

Wheeler Winston Dixon

Edinburgh University Press

With the decline in cinema attendance in the early 2000s eerily mimicking the same pattern in the early 1950s, television programs have become a new and potent source of noir. From CSI to Law and Order: Special Victims Unit and Moment of Truth, television depicts the true ‘reality’ of life in the twenty-first century; rapacious greed, fear, violence, endless war, terrorism and the continual droning of either threats or assurances from impotent authority figures. The new breed of television reality shows, such as Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, I Want a Famous Face and The Swan, create the impression that one can ‘buy’ whatever one wants. In a post-9/11 cinematic landscape, we must fight to find a path towards reason and understanding of a new cinematic landscape in which violence and catastrophe are viewed as constants. Even the news has become noir, dealing in paranoia, fear and obsessive speculation. In the world of film noir, our lot is to seek continually the phantom reassurance of a new social construct that can never fulfill our spectatorial desires.

Keywords:   CSI, film noir, Moment of Truth, fear, violence, television programs, reality shows, The Swan, paranoia, I Want a Famous Face

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