Pandemic epics or great escapes? What classic movies might tell us about post-Covid Hollywood

Should we expect hordes of allegorical aliens and zombies – or a soothing succession of romcoms and musicals? Cinema history offers some cluesThe screenwriter William Goldman cautioned against making predictions in the movie business with the line: “Nobody knows anything.” That said, there is one thing we do know: global events leave their mark on cinema – and things don’t get much bigger than a worldwide pandemic.

And not always in the ways you’d expect.

So, if we’re looking for clues about films that will be released in the years to come, is cinema history any help?The pandemic is the biggest global crisis since the second world war, and, if we look back to the cinema of that era, one trend in particular stands out: the arrival of film noir.

Classics of the genre, such as The Postman Always Rings Twice, Double Indemnity and The Killers, were dark,

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