Saturday, February 1, 2014

Noir City Festival: International Edition at SIFF Cinema: Feb 13 -17

Next week Eddie Muller's annual Film Noir Foundation event goes global at SIFF Cinema with Noir City: International Edition. Opening night begins with the WWII double-hitter of Orson Welles' (ostensibly directed?) "Journey into Fear", and a new restoration of Carol Reed's brilliant realization of Graham Greene's novel set in Allied occupied Vienna. As Europe struggled to get back on it's feet, much of the post-War Zone was a intersection of black market dealings, smuggling, espionage and marshal law, making for a shadowy setting of bombed out buildings and desolate empty city blocks that is the Vienna of "The Third Man". The series also features a ultra-rare screening of the only Hollywood era Noir directed by a woman, Ida Lupino's masterclass on the style, "The Hitchhiker". Another neglected masterpiece of Noir awaiting rediscovery, Byron Haskin's adaptation of Roy Huggins' serial, to which he also wrote the screenplay, "Too Late For Tears". Thought lost for decades this new restoration by The UCLA Film & Television Archive looks to return this film to it's rightful place in the genre-canon. We also get a double-hitter of Henri-Georges Clouzot. Clouzot probably best known for his gripping thriller, considered one of the most suspenseful films ever made, "Wages of Fear" and a earlier crime drama featuring the perfect concoction of a murder, a conniving chanteuse, her jealous husband and the sly police inspector that suspects our culprits in "Quai des Orfèvres". Akira Kurosawa's film that made Toshiro Mifune a star, as much as Kurosawa attempted a cautionary tale for Mifune's anti-hero, his tough but honest cool guy and charismatic swagger made him a sensation with Japanese youth. The alcoholic clinic doctor and tubercular gangster make the unlikeliest couple in one of Kurosawa's great contemporary films, "Drunken Angel". Near the program's conclusion, Jules Dassin pulls off what's considered one of the greatest heist films ever made, containing what might be the most suspenseful robbery sequence of all time (how's that for double-hyperbole?) in his 1950's classic, "Riffifi". Made that much more notable for the film being shot by Dassin while in France after his Hollywood blacklist at the hands of The House Committee on Un-American Activities and The MPAA's Waldorf Statement. From the SIFF press release: "The Czar of Noir, Eddie Muller, returns to Seattle and explodes the long-held belief that noir is an exclusively American phenomenon. Join us as Noir City goes international by presenting unearthed gems from Argentina, Britain, Germany, Norway, Spain, Japan, and (of course) France -- plus two newly restored Hollywood classics. This year's Noir City festival features 16 classic films, most in newly restored or archival 35mm prints! Opening night walk the red carpet for a double shot of WWII intrigue, then spend the next four days on a journey around the globe showcasing how the cinematic movement known as 'Noir' had a style, sexiness, and cynicism that crossed all international borders."