|Hrothgar Mathews and Lisa Ryder in Helen Lawrence. Photo: David Cooper|
From its contrived sets to its stark lighting, from its stylized costumes to its still more stylized dialogue, vintage film noir has a vivid unreality that’s positively dreamlike, though it’s hard now to untangle whether our films resemble our dreams or vice versa. After all, what did human dreams look like before movies? Like paintings or plays? Or is this the wrong way to peer through the lens—should we instead rightly think of our time’s visual arts as renderings of our dream lives?