Elena Oumano, Ph.D., book author, music journalist, lecturer

Six Decades of French Noir Come to Film Forum: Crime Pays in "French Crime Wave" series

What more delicious—not to mention cheap—way to pass the dog days of a New York City summer than by taking a vicarious plunge into the French underworld from the safe comfort of an air-conditioned cinema? Starting with the bleak contours of the period preceding the German Occupation and its aftermath's anxious confusion to the stylish rebellion of the New Wave and today's slicker psychological studies, French film directors like Jean-Pierre Melville, Jacques Becker, Jean-Luc Godard, and Claude Chabrol refashioned the tropes of American B-movies to create enduring masterpieces of good and evil.

Selected Works

nonfiction book
From "Cinematic Rhythm & Structure": Cinema’s ability to defy ordinary limits of time and space means that a film’s structure can be as complex as an architectural space with various angles of entry and points of view, hidden rooms, and twisting, turning passageways. Some films are labyrinths in which the viewer searches for resolution, a way out, while other films are like big empty rooms in which everything is visible.
magazine article
I was there myself in '69, hired to oversee ticket-taking, and since there were no fences, I wound up backstage, eating grapes, drinking champagne punch, and dipping my pinkie into a vial of Orange Sunshine with one of the acts and his entourage. It would be more accurate to say that I dream Woodstock whenever I think about it, rather than remember it. http://www.villagevoice.com/2008-06-03/music/you-weren-t-there-then-so-go-there-now/
Great cinema seduces us with details, and Melville's a masterful image maker, prone to deeply shadowed, ravaged faces and urban landscapes, barren hotel rooms and dazzling nightclubs. His damaged but honorable thieves, uniformed in trench coats, fedoras, and cigarettes, are betrayed by interchangeable femme fatales sporting cat's-eye maquillage, pencil skirts, and stiletto heels as they act out their unvarying role: agent of fate in the protagonist's inevitable destruction. http://www.villagevoice.com/2008-07-29/film/six-decades-of-french-noir-come-to-film-forum./
Every dawn, as sunlight glinting off the top spire of the Empire State Building streams through the skylight positioned just over Flash Rosenberg’s bed, she springs up, eager for the fun of doing Flash work. She’s an award-winning filmmaker, a 2011 Guggenheim fellow in film and video, a performer in storytelling venues like Monologues and Madness and The Moth and a poet with Brevitas, and her audio snapshots—“Flash Moments”—were a daily public radio feature.
Magazine article
Magazine Articles
Free speech, cultural sovereignty, and human rights clash in reggae dancehall homophobia debate
Music Writing
Insights from an insider into Caribbean and African culture and music.
Nonfiction
From Altman to Godard to Scorsese, Oumano interviewed the world’s greatest auteur filmmakers on the primary issues of filmmaking then edited their responses into a revolutionary "you are there" symposium format.
Authored by a popular psychologist and New York City talk show host and ghosted by Oumano, this title addresses relationship issues faced by men and women in the African-American community.