A Review of The Introspective Realist Crime Film, by Luis M. García Mainar
Its cultural background is a sense of paranoia that pervaded the United States during the s and a realist aesthetic borrowed from the s thriller. This crime film trend has a transnational dimension, as it informs films produced in at least Europe and Latin America that share social concerns with US films. The chapter discusses the continuity of the sedate s thriller, exemplified by Klute or Three Days of the Condor , to the present by focusing on one of the aesthetic configurations of the introspective realist crime film: pictorial realism.
The chapter analyses a second aesthetic of this crime film trend: a documentary look that mobilizes introspection to voice helplessness or the struggle against injustice and violence. A prominent narrative strategy of the introspective realist crime film, peripheral point of view constructs a sense of sympathy that manages to become pertinent to history and politics by relying on the perspective of the ordinary citizen.
The introspective realist crime film highlights the experience and social context of crime through stylized naturalism, documentary aesthetics and complex or peripheral point of view. Generally, it avoids nostalgia by engaging with the realities of its stories while participating in networks of transnational influence that include art cinema, neorealism, Dogme 95 or Slow Cinema. This film trend voices the contemporary dissolution of the social, countered with a view of the subject that represents a new politics built on the private experience of the self.
This relation between the self and society resembles the descriptions of contemporary life proposed by sociologists Zygmunt Bauman and Alain Touraine, and indirectly reflects the mood of the social movements that have characterized these first years of the twenty-first century.
The crime film has traditionally been identified with suspense, a heterogeneous aesthetic and a tacit social mind. However, a good number of the crime films produced since the early s have shifted their focus from action or suspense and towards melodrama in narratives that highlight the social dimension of crime, intensify their realist aesthetics and dwell on subjectivity. With the s wave of Hollywood semi-documentary crime films and s generic revisionism as antecedents, these crime films find inspiration in Hollywood cinema and constitute a transnational trend.
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