Films noir, Pippin argues, "provide even more compelling evidence about the differences between what we think we think we 'stil' think (about individual causal agency, self-knowledge, moral responsibility, and our reflective access to ourselves), and what we actually think.
Pippin's introduction is an essay-length discussion of the problem of fatalism itself, referencing several philosophers and framing the philosophical dimensions of the issue, with illustrations from several films noir.
Although certain films noirs, especially those featuring private investigators, may proceed toward the solution of an enigma in a fairly standard way, my contention is that noir's overriding logic is not hermeneutic in Barthes' sense, but instead hermetic.
Following from Vernet's assertion that films noirs tend to be markedly horizontal in their lighting design, I argue that chiaroscuro must be understood not only as lateral but also as predominantly architectural in origin.
Although it would be difficult to verify whether the creators of individual films noirs ever consciously intended for their lighting effects to suggest an X-ray view into a body sealed in skin, it seems clear that the viewer's own penetration beyond the walls of hermetically-sealed criminal conspiracies forms a major part of noir's mystique.
This fly-on-the-wall peek at the planning of a jewel robbery is one of the great films noirs
That a concern with ideology still requires readings against the visual and narrative grain of films noirs is indicated by Manthia Diawara's piece "Noirs by Noirs" (in Shades of Noir) which, in a sense, does for the black community what late 1970s studies did for women--that is, it raids films noirs for clues about how people of color feel about America and how America feels about them.
a formalist criticism of the noir genre runs the risk of reducing films noirs by noirs to a critique of patriarchy or of capitalism.
Where Pfeil goes beyond most of these essays in both volumes is to link his analyses of modern films noirs to the need for a new cultural and general politics: