Blog Post Soundtrack: Duke Ellington Orchestra – Harlem Nocturne
If there’s one thing people know me for, it’s my love of film noir, and my obsession with emulating it in every way possible. It’s been a longstanding obsession which has infiltrated my artistic direction. I’m enamoured with the intoxicating darkness, the smoke fills my senses and the mystery adds a much needed spice to life. But as much as I love the visuals of film noir, I have the say I love its femmes fatales even more.
If you look up the term, this is what you’ll find:
ˌfem fəˈtal,fəˈtäl/ noun
an attractive and seductive woman, especially one who will ultimately bring disaster to a man who becomes involved with her.“
I take major issue with this definition, as it is clearly written from a patriarchal perspective. It strips the femmes of their complexity, intelligence, and other assets and over simplifies them. It is important to note that femme fatales are neither solely harbingers of disaster, nor a male-specific danger. In actuality all may fall prey to their charms, and they are not all are causes of chaos. An example of this in film noir is Lauren Bacall’s character in The Big Sleep. Their being completely maligned is just another symptom of the fear our society has of female power.
The femme fatale is a breed of her own. I’ve yet to meet a real one (an event that would be simultaneously frightening and exhilarating). But there have been many women historically who can probably be so categorized, although in current day they might be more difficult to spot. Something that would stand out most about a femme fatale in modern times is the her full consciousness of, yet non-fixation with, her own beauty. She realizes that the art of seduction is very much dependent on attitude on personality, and not just her naturally endowed looks. If there is one thing you can be sure of, it’s that this femme is incredibly confident and knows her worth. Her confidence is not to be confused with vanity, which is ultimately hollow, constantly in need of approval. This femme doesn’t need your approval. To state the obvious, no insecure woman could ever generate the charismatic magic needed to fill the role.