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The work considers how film noir is constructed stylistically and narratively to disorient the audience to generate a level of uncertainty and deception, not just in its story arc, but more so on how queer characters implicitly and explicitly surfaced. Navigating the strict movie moral codes in Hollywood in the 1940s and 1950s, most of these characters' sexuality is formulated through crime scenarios where gay men are portrayed as deviant dandies and lesbians as menacing sadists. These depictions, although contemporarily outdated, were important at that time, since these queer characters seep through the shadow and glare at the instability of heterosexuality as they act as a harbinger for the gay rights movement in the 1960s. Most of these films are built on deceptive characters amidst a dizzying environment, not just on its skewing of perspectives through the use of shadows and lights, but also on how queer characters drive a wedge between the plot and their heterosexual protagonists, often times an unflappable male detective. These characters create nuances that deal with particular queer semiotics that traverses the audience's assumptions no matter their orientation.
This project is made possible by the support of Canada Council for the Arts (Project Grants for Visual Artists) and the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts Residency Program.