Thursday, February 3, 2022

Noir City Festival: Dark City Edition at SIFF Cinema: Feb 11 - 17

After a lengthy hiatus due to the conditions of the global pandemic, Eddie Muller and the Film Noir Foundation return to Seattle's historic Egyptian Theatre this month with a substantial Noir City program. As the press release states, the lineup will feature "films from all the finer Dark City neighborhoods; Shamus Flats, Knockover Square, Vixenville, Blind Alley and Hate Street, with stops at The City Desk, The Psych Ward, Losers' Lane, The Big House and other dark alleys." This year, Muller will serve not only as host, but also as the inspiration for the program. The 17 films chosen for this year’s festival were selected from those referenced in his bestselling book "Dark City: The Lost World of Film Noir", which was just recently published in a newly expanded edition. With the book's reprinting this past fall, Muller spoke at-length with NPR's Terry Gross, plumbing the genre's "Celebration of Cinema's Double Crosses and Doomed Characters", that populate "The Lost World of Film Noir". The last occasion Muller was in Seattle, some two years ago now, was for Noir City: International Edition II which continued the programming last seen in the first of the Noir City: International Editions, with geographically framed sets and quartets of films originating from far flung corners of the world. Previously, we also saw 2019's Noir City: Film Noir in The 1950s program which 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, and the outstanding set of Noir City: The Big Knockover - Heists, Holdups and Schemes Gone Awry, after the festival's brief hiatus and return to Seattle in 2016. Outside of the annual return of the Noir City Festival, this decade inaugurated Muller's new permanent residence on TCM with the launch of his Saturday night Noir Alley showcase. Muller and his show have become a central component and representation of how "Turner Classic Movies Is Changing. And Trying to Stay the Same." His weekly selections and introductions act as more than just a showcase for the Film Noir Foundation and their partners at The UCLA Film & Television Archive, but instead a global overview of the social concerns, look, sound, aesthetic, and feel that define the Dark Passages of film noir.