A Story in Black and White

“Noir” and I have had a short history before coming to Australia. In April 2015, I made a short film along with a few friends called “Oh Shit!“. It was a comedy film which was made in a Noir setting and it addressed issues students had to face while living in a hostel.

Noir and I crossed paths again in Melbourne. A few colleagues and I had to work around the theme of Noir; We clicked a few pictures, put them together to create a small story, shot a few random sequences, stitched them up as one to make a short clip. While we were working on this, I came across the term “Neo-Noir”. So it got me thinking; Why was the term coined in the first place? How is it different from Noir? If I got to work on the project again, would I adapt Neo-Noir into it instead and how?

To answer those questions, we first have to look at how the two are different from each other.

Noir was a term that was coined in 1946. Films under this category dealt with psychological thrillers and crime dramas. It revolved around the underworld, gangsters, detectives and femme fatale. The audience often forms a relation or a connection with the anti-heroes. The setting is always in a city, shot in black and white, with a lot of darkness and sharp lighting.

Neo-Noir is of sorts an off-spring of Noir. Neo-Noir on the other hand is something that came into existence in the 1970s. It deviates from Noir in certain ways and portrays identity crisis, social ramification, memory issues and subjectivity. It also uses a lot of technology and methods which were initially not available during the time Noir was prevalent.

However, the biggest similarity between the two is the “feeling” or “emotion” it generates within the audience-Mystery, thriller, murder, suspense and a lot of darkness.

If I got the chance to do this experiment again, I would love to add some New-Noir elements into the pictures and videos that I took. The reason for that is, I feel that bringing about the same feeling that Noir can with Neo-Noir elements would be a little more challenging.

Other than this, during the project, I also felt that that portraying Noir, was a lot easier through film than through pictures; Especially when the mode of capturing the pictures or videos is restricted to a mobile phone. However, having that limitation made the experiment all the more interesting.


Using footage from the videos shot by my colleagues and myself, I put together a short 45 second clip “Out of Time”:

Out of Time from Priyankar Ray on Vimeo.



References for the information on Noir and New Noir:

  1. Prabhat S.
  2. ahutflus

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