High Contrast Lighting: Shadows

The high contrast lighting that became the staple of film noir projects shadows that reflect the emotions of the characters and events of the film. Known to reveal more about a character’s true intentions than their words, the lighting diminishes some of the mystery around a character.

In the picture above, the bars casted across the man’s face represent a feeling of entrapment. The eyes are the only part of his face left in the light, signaling that he is looking out of a “prison cell.” This “prison cell” is symbolic of the mental isolation that most male characters experience in noir films. A femme fatale has most likely cornered this man into a situation with no escape.


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