Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

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Unit Overview

Growing out of a fascination with Pulp Fiction and the prolific B films produced during the pre-war period in America, the Film Noir cycle is a unique example of a truly indigenous American cultural form. From the 1940s, Film Noir provided the 'black slate' on which Hollywood inscribed American social paranoia of the unknown. Fascinated by the formal qualities of these films, the young French cineastes and critics centred around the Cahiers du Cinema and formulated a series of critical strategies to reform the nature of conventional cinema. This unit examines a number of selected feature films from the American Film Noir cycle as a foundation on which the various strategies of the early French New Wave can be dissected and studied. Auteur and genre based critical approaches of the cinema are examined through the films of Jean-Luc Godard and Francois Truffaut and in relation to the theories of both filmmakers (as well as Andre Bazin, Alexandre Astruc, Christian Metz and others). The unit also provides students involved in film/video production with a conceptual and historical framework of ideas to reference.
6 points
Not available in 2024UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 option in the History of Art major sequence
  • Level 2 elective

Students are able to (1) demonstrate knowledge of the common features within the Film Noir genre and to understand the summary anxieties of American society featured within the films; (2) understand how the key concepts of the American Film Noir cycle and the innovations of the French New Wave would mediate social and cultural meaning and the wider discourses of history; (3) develop skills to research, interpret, synthesise and apply existing scholarship within an analysis of the cinematic works studied; (4) display an ability to apply the principles of argument and revision within a comparative interpretation of the subject matter studied; and (5) analyse the value of cultural innovation as it applies to the objectives of critical thinking and the reflective appraisal of cinematic works.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) short essay; (2) major essay; and (3) tutorial presentation. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Peter Mudie
Unit rules
HART1000 Great Moments in Art (formerly VISA1000)
or HART1003 Ways of Seeing: Themes and Theories in Art
VISA2234 Film Noir to the New Wave
Contact hours
lectures: 2 hours per week
tutorials: 1 hour per week, plus film screenings
Enrolled students can access unit material via the Learning Management System.

Cameron, I., ed. The Movie Book of Film Noir: Studio Vista 1992

Dixon, W. W. The Films of Jean-Luc Godard: State University of New York 1997

Hayward, S. and Vincendeau, G. French Film: Texts and Contexts: Routledge 1990

Krutnik, F. In a Lonely Street: Film Noir, Genre and Masculinity: Routledge 1991

Lefevre, R. Jean-Luc Godard: Ediling 1983

MacCabe, C. Godard: Images, Sounds, Politics: BFI 1980

Monaco, J. The New Wave: Truffaut, Godard, Chabrol, Rhomer, Rivette: OUP 1976

Orr, J. Cinema and Modernity: Polity Press 1993

Petrie, G. The Cinema of Francois Truffaut: A. S. Barnes 1970

Silver, A. and Ward, E., eds Film Noir: an Encyclopedic Reference to the American Style: Overlook Press 1979

Telotte, A. P. Voices in the Dark: the Narrative Patterns of Film Noir: University of Illinois 1989

  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.