TABLE OF CONTENTS

“A BRIGHT, GUILTY WORLD”: DAYLIGHT GHOSTS AND SUNSHINE NOIR

David Lynch, Mulholland Drive, 2001, still from a color film in 35 mm, 145 minutes. Betty Elms/Diane Selwyn (Naomi Watts).

Anticipated by the German Expressionists, discovered by French aesthetes, beloved by American film scholars, the atmospheric crime stories, paranoid policiers, and hard-boiled detective yarns known as film noir constitute the most stylized, self-consciously artistic tendency in Hollywood history. Compositions in convoluted flashback, tough-guy slang, and precisely adjusted venetian blinds—only bebop, which also developed during World War II, could claim to be a richer form of American avant-pop.

Noir is its own place, but it belongs to Los Angeles; it is a dark shadow cast by the radiant City of Angels. A particular subset of film noir deals with local history—the city’s or the movies’. These are the Sunshine Noirs. Citizen Kane’s fake newsreels and haunted mansion anticipate Sunshine Noir, as Kane (1941) does all noir. Indeed, Orson Welles virtually defined Sunshine Noir

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the February 2007 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.