Film Noir as Point de Capiton: Double Indemnity, Structure and Temporality

Ben Tyrer


Reading noir and Lacan together can establish a structural corollary between the function of the signifier 'noir' in film criticism and the retroactive function of the point de capiton in Lacan's theory of language. Furthermore, at a narrative level, the function of the point de capiton can also be found in the retroactive constructions of film noir flashbacks. It is therefore possible to say that a retroactive 'noir temporality' is also the temporality of the Symbolic order. This article explores the way in which the signifier 'noir' enables the analysis of a certain type of 1940s Hollywood film, and how a noir film such as Double Indemnity (Billy Wilder, 1944) is concerned with the retroactive production of knowledge through narrative structure.


Lacan; film noir; retroactivity; Double Indemnity

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