This course will examine Film Noir as a genre coming out of the moral unrest after World War II. Film noir expresses a despairing vision of the world borne of the brutality and absurdity that war forced humanity to face. The atmosphere of loss and isolation in this genre has elicited a variety of readings, some emphasizing class and racial anxieties, and others the impact of suburbanization and changing gender roles. But this course also explores the relatinship between film noir, and existentialist themes in literature and philosophy. Existentialism approaches enduring questions that philosophy, religion and literature have always sought to answer: Does fate, free will or chance dictate our lives? What is the proper response to atrocity and how do we assign blame or establish a moral order in the face of it? We will analyze the fallen world portrayed in noir by tracing these questions in the philosophy and literature that precede and accompany the moment of classic noir in the forties and fifties. We will read Sartre, Camus, Primo Levi, Eli Wiesel, Raymond Chandler, The Book of Job, genre theory, as well as specific film studies texts. Films will include Fritz Lang’s Scarlet Street , Howard Hawk’s The Big sleep , Billy Wilder’s Double Indemnity , Roman Polanski’s Chinatown , and Robert Altman’s The Long Goodbye .