Galerie Barbette in association with Nutshuis Cinema has organised a special programme about:
FEMME FATALE & FILM NOIR
The Femme Fatale has been leaving her mark on our culture for hundreds of years. From prehistoric mythology to contemporary computer games. The Film Noir version of the Femme Fatale is a socially relevant category, which reigned supreme in cinemas from the early 1940s until the late 1950s, evoking a sense of romantic paranoia among filmgoers.
Quite literally, 'Film noir' means: black film. Darkness is at the heart of this genre.
Reality is harsh and inhospitable, but still manages to be enchanting thanks to contrasting compositions, symmetric architecture, stately interiors and attractive clothing designs.
Strangely enough, the genre only earned its name in 1955, at roughly the time that it became popular among cinemagoers. French critics dubbed this American film style 'Film Noir'. The term was a direct reference to 'Série Noir' (the French name for detective novels), but was also used to stress the impressive lighting techniques used for the genre.
The death-dealing ladies from the Film Noir were also assigned a French name …
Enter the Femme Fatale:
In the Film Noir scene, the word 'Fatale' has a double entendre: it can mean fatal as in fatal consequences and fatalities, or fatal as in fatalistic, whereby things happen according to fate. As a fatalistic fantasy, the Femme Fatale appeals to the imagination of both men and women.
These days, everyone is familiar with the term Femme Fatale. In our modern culture, she is portrayed as dark and mysterious in the worlds of fashion and advertising. She no longer stands for a fatal woman, but a free woman, contrary to her devilish predecessor.
Her presence in art and literature is wrapped up with a strong sense of morality, as well as suggestions of a more seductive nature. The term Femme Fatale turned out to be the perfect commercial vehicle for the expression of individual feminine sexuality.
She was recreated time and time again for the silver screen, adapting herself seamlessly to the era. She’s been lurking in the dark for more than a century, waiting for the right moment to strike. And we, the audience, can’t get enough of her.
Her hidden weapon – apart from her dazzling beauty – is her kiss of death. She personifies the sinister promise that the most invigorating, breath-taking kiss a man will ever experience will inevitably lead to his demise.