Film noir questions social institutions. Before these dark types of films came out, a woman's role in a movie was to be sweet, innocent and obedient. Women were soft and cast only as side parts that barely took any attention from the main male star. Film noir challenged this idea and created the femme fatale; the dark, commanding role for a woman. The creation of the femme fatale finally produced a powerful woman's role in film. It mirrored the new role of women in society; the woman that earned income and provided for the family. Both types of women were seen as strong and independent.
In Detour, Vera looks at Al (and the camera) wildly and talks fast. She commands the scene and draws the attention to herself. Vera was essentially the face of the women that were no longer afraid to be outspoken and fearless. She's rough around the edges and the lighting in certain scenes really plays up this idea. The mix of fill and key light (Place & Peterson 1974) creates a mysterious style surrounding Vera. The viewer is unsure of how to feel about her, let alone trust her. Shadows often fall on her face and mask a portion of it. This lends to the air that she could be dangerous. As her role progresses in the film, her face is more exposed and we are starting to... [continues]
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