spacetime coordinates: 1930s Chicago, Indiana, Wisconsin, Arizona
Public Enemies is a 2009 American biographical mob drama film directed by Michael Mann and written by Mann, Ronan Bennett and Ann Biderman. It is an adaptation of Bryan Burrough‘s non-fiction book Public Enemies: America’s Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933–34. Set during the Great Depression, the film chronicles the final years of the notorious bank robber John Dillinger(Johnny Depp) as he is pursued by FBI agent Melvin Purvis (Christian Bale), Dillinger’s relationship with Billie Frechette (Marion Cotillard), as well as Purvis’ pursuit of Dillinger’s associates and fellow criminals Homer Van Meter (Stephen Dorff) and Baby Face Nelson (Stephen Graham).
Burrough originally intended to make a television miniseries about the Depression-era crime wave in the United States, but decided to write a book on the subject instead. Mann developed the project, and some scenes were filmed on location where certain events depicted in the film occurred, though the film is not entirely historically accurate.
spacetime coordinates: Chile, 1948
Neruda is a 2016 internationally co-produced biographical drama film directed by Pablo Larraín, a fabulous retelling of popular poet and Communist Senator Pablo Neruda’s 1948 flight from Chile’s fascist government.
spacetime coordinates: nameless city “in the year XX”
La Antena (English: The Aerial) is a 2007 Argentine dystopian drama/fantasy film, written and directed by acclaimed film director Esteban Sapir.
This near-silent black and white film from Argentina tells the story of a city that has lost its voice, stolen by Mr. TV, and the attempts of a small family to win the voice back. Similar in design to early German expressionist films.
The Man Who Wasn’t There is a 2001 British-American neo-noir crime film written, produced and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen. Billy Bob Thornton stars in the title role. Also featured are Tony Shalhoub, Scarlett Johansson, James Gandolfini, and Coen regulars Frances McDormand, Michael Badalucco, Richard Jenkins and Jon Polito.
The original soundtrack to The Man Who Wasn’t There consists of classical music, mainly piano sonatas by Ludwig van Beethoven, interspersed with cues composed by Carter Burwell.
Europa (known as Zentropa in North America) is a 1991 Danish art drama film directed by Lars von Trier. It is von Trier’s third theatrical feature film and the final film in his Europa trilogy following The Element of Crime (1984) and Epidemic (1987). Europa was influenced by Franz Kafka‘s Amerika, and the title was chosen “as an echo” of that novel.
A young, idealistic American hopes to “show some kindness” to the German people soon after the end of World War II. In US-occupied Germany, he takes on work as a sleeping car conductor for the Zentropa railway network, falls in love with a femme fatale, and becomes embroiled in a pro-Nazi terrorist conspiracy.
Europa employs an experimental style of cinema, combining largely black and white visuals with occasional intrusions of colour having actors interact with rear-projected footage, and layering different images over one another to surreal effect. The voice-over narration uses an unconventional second-person narrative imitative of a hypnotist
The film’s characters, music, dialogue, and plot are self-consciously melodramatic and ironically imitative of film noir conventions.
spacetime coordinates: 2011 Los Angeles
Drive is a 2011 American neo-noir crime film directed by Nicolas Winding Refn and written by Hossein Amini, based on the 2005 novel by James Sallis. It stars Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Christina Hendricks, Ron Perlman, Oscar Isaac and Albert Brooks.
Journalists and reviewers have called Drive a “classic Los Angeles heist-gone-wrong story”, a “tribute to the genre of car films” in the vein of movies like Bullitt (1968). As a character study, Drive examines themes of “loyalty, loneliness and the dark impulses that rise up even when we try our hardest to suppress them.” It combines comic gore, film noir and B-movie style and Hollywood spectacle, resulting in “a bizarre concoction…reminiscent of David Lynch‘s Mulholland Drive…Quentin Tarantino‘s Pulp Fiction, and [with] angst-laden love scenes that would not be out of place in a Scandinavian drama”. – read more about Style and inspiration –
the film contains abundant, evocative, intense images of Los Angeles. from the little seen back streets of downtown LA to the dry arid outposts on the peaks of the desert landscape surrounding it, LA is re-imagined all the way down to the rocky cliffs by the sea.
While Drive is set in the present day, it carries a heavy 1980s atmosphere that is cautiously set from beginning to end and is underlined not only by the vehicles or music and clothes, but also by its architecture. The parts of the city seen in the Valley and by downtown Los Angeles are cheap stucco and mirrored glass. Refn avoided certain areas to preserve the gloomy atmosphere often leaving out more contemporary buildings. Drab background settings include the Southern California commercial strip. As the Los Angeles Times pointed out, whenever gleaming buildings are shown, it is because they are being seen from a distance. Refn shot those scenes from a helicopter at night in Bunker Hill, Los Angeles.
spacetime coordinate: 1977 Los Angeles
neo-noir mystery-crime thriller comedy set against the backdrop of 1977 Los Angeles.
a mismatched pair of private eyes investigate a missing girl and the mysterious death of porn star Misty Mountains.