Sunday, June 2, 2019
Miami Film Noir :: Film Cinema Movies
MIAMI NOIRWe have much to learn from Mike Davis, CITY OF QUARTZ (Vintage, 1992) who discusses the paradoxical effects that the representations of Los Angeles in hardboiled novels and their variation into film noir cinema had on the image and myth of that city.Together they radically reworked the metaphorical figure of the city, using the crisis of the middle class (rarely the workers or the poor) to expose how the reverie had become nightmare. . . . It is hard to exaggerate the damage which noirs dystopianization of Los Angeles, together with the exiles European intellectuals living and working in L.A. denunciation of its counterfeit urbanity, inflicted upon the accumulated ideological capital of the regions boosters. Noir, often in illicit alliance with San Francisco or New York elitism, made Los Angeles the city that American intellectuals love to hate (although, paradoxically, this seems only to increase its fascination for postwar European intellectuals). As Richard Lehan has e mphasized, probably no city in the Western world has a more negative image. . . . It is hard to avoid the conclusion that the paramount axis of rotation of cultural engagement in Los Angeles has always been about the construction/interpretation of the city myth, which enters the material landscape as a design for speculation and command (Davis, 20-21).Miami, most notably in the works of Elmore Leonard and Charles Willeford, and in the Television series MIAMI VICE, has received some of the same treatment, belatedly, or in a post- or neo- noir modality of the genre. . As Davis noted, noir was like a transformational grammar turning each charming ingredient of the boosters arcadia into a sinister equivalent (38). We need to sort out those aspects of this noir/booster conflict that are generic and those that are specific to Miami. Boosterism is a fundamental feature of Miamis existence. The same paradoxes of attraction are an important part of Florida tourism. However, noir carries w ith it a state of mind, an ambiance and mood, that are specific to the genre and may or may not have anything to do with the spirit of place specific to our zone.In any case, we should financial support in mind that a book about the mythical America of crime writers includes some discussion of the Miami River setting. The Interviewer, John Williams, spoke with James Hall, author of the rough SQUALL LINE, as they rode in Halls boat on the bay near the rivers mouth.