Australian Noir

February 2023 Sculpture Gardens, NAG, Canberra

Australian Noir is an emerging film genre. It is takes its cue from film noir of the 50’s – a style characterised by stark lighting, cynical heroes, bleak small town life and often involving a crime drama. In Australian noir, the brooding Australian environment is as much a character of the film as the protagonists.

After watching Black Snow, a made for streaming movie set on the Queensland sugar fields and highlighting the stories of future generations of the original slave labour, I was struck by how the cinematography assisted the story.

Some characteristics I noticed was the use of stark Australian light, with it’s harsh shadows; and in particular that of the later afternoon, the ‘golden hour’ much loved by portrait photographers but here gave a sense of foreboding. Another characteristic was the cinematic, otherworldliness of the composition and lighting; and the dominance of the Australian environment.

It is style I will be experimenting with. Here are my first attempts.