Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Noir City Festival: International Edition II at SIFF Cinema: Feb 14 - 20

Eddie Muller and the Film Noir Foundation return to Seattle following last year's program, Noir City: Film Noir in The 1950s centered around the genre's second decade. 2019's program tracked the beginning of the decline of the American studio system, and into a fresh cinematic landscape where the genre was to be refashioned, both subtly and radically, for a new generation. Other previous iterations have been formatted in a Film Noir from A to B presentation involving "A" and "B" double bills, in both low budget and high production value features. This year sees the fourth consecutive year after a brief hiatus in 2015, following Noir City: The Big Knockover - Heists, Holdups and Schemes Gone Awry and the festival's return to the city in 2016. In the interim, it has been a notable stretch of years for The Film Noir Foundation. In 2017 Muller took up permanent residence on TCM with a new programming franchise hosted by the "Czar of Noir" with the launch of his weekly Noir Alley showcase. As is the case annually, a selection of the offerings in this year's Noir City will be screened on celluloid. These bold 35mm prints courtesy of their ongoing collaborative efforts with The UCLA Film & Television Archive. The work of UCLA's Preservation Society and their annual touring Festival of Preservation consistently offers one of the country's most, "Fascinating Windows into Our Cinematic Past". The archive featuring prominently in the LA Weekly's discussion of the expansive shift to digital distribution and projection nationwide, "Movie Studios are Forcing Hollywood to Abandon 35mm Film. But the Consequences of Going Digital are Vast, and Troubling".

This year continues the programming composition seen in 2014 with the first of the Noir City: International Edition with geographically framed sets and quartets of films originating from far flung corners of the world. Noir City: International Edition II, presents a globe-spanning array of impressions and expansions of the language of noir from Latin American, West Germany, France, Czechoslovakia , Italy, Scandinavia, the United Kingdom, South Korea and Japan from the years 1938 to 1967. From the Film Noir Foundation: "America doesn't have a monopoly on swaggering gangsters, larcenous lovers, surly ex-cons, corrupt cops, and scheming femmes fatales. Six years after the first Noir City: International, the Film Noir Foundation is at it again: presenting an array of classic films from around the globe, a wide-ranging, thematically cohesive immersion in a sordid world of sinister and sexy affairs, including the world premieres of two new restorations by the Film Noir Foundation!. The seven day excursion travels through hot-blooded nightclubs of the Latin cabareteras, neon-streaked alleys of Japanese yakuza thrillers, the stylish Parisian underworld, Italian palazzos hiding crimes of every social strata, Scandinavian and British class struggle and gender issues, a Kafkaesque Prague as envisioned by the Czech New Wave, class conflict and retribution from South Korea, even a rare serial killer film set in Nazi Germany made by Hollywood's finest director of film noir, Robert Siodmak." Your tour guides through this global representation of the spectrum of noir include some of the world's most revered filmmakers. From which, this year's highlights include; the deeply paranoid existentialism of Julien Duvivier's "Panic", Jean-Pierre Melville's pitch perfect, "Finger Man", Jirí Weiss' "90 Degrees in the Shade", Lee Man-hui's "Black Hair", Kim Ki-young's class conflict psychodrama "The Housemaid", Toshio Masuda's "Rusty Knife", the kinetic propulsion of Seijun Suzuki's "Branded to Kill", and Masahiro Shinoda's hyper-modernist, "Pale Flower".