"Now, more than ever, it's essential to resist the dread and paranoia of contemporary times by looking beyond our differences. Let's appreciate the noir ethos for the creativity it inspires and the warning flares it long ago flashed on screens worldwide. Noir has no national boundaries. It's the same story, everywhere." Eddie Muller a.k.a. The Czar Of Noir
As Victoria Mature, ace opera singer (and daughter of Victor Mature) is seen doing in the Noir City International poster, we at Way Too Damn Lazy To Write A Blog shall be traveling to the mecca of classic movies, San Francisco's Castro Theatre, soon. . .
Why? To see the 2020 Noir City Film Festival, of course!
Dyed-in-the-wool film buffs return to that quintessential Art Deco movie palace, the Castro Theatre, for heaping helpings of desperation, thuggery, skullduggery, chicanery, double-crossing dames, sex-starved saps, bullet-riddled sedans, doomed relationships, nervous cigarette smoking, cheap hotels, furtive claustrophobia, post-WWII style ennui and inevitably, endless roads leading nowhere.
As always, the Film Noir Foundation deserves kudos, bravos and huzzahs for putting their money where their Jack Daniels-stained, Tareyton-burned, lipstick-smudged mouths are for presenting newly struck 35mm prints of numerous classic films for the Noir City Film Festival.
This time the foreboding-filled cinematic extravaganza is literally all over the map. Represented in the program: directors Michelangelo Antonioni (Italy), Román Viñoly Barreto (Argentina), Julio Bracho (Mexico), Zbynek Brynych (Czechoslovakia), Julien Duvivier (France), Roberto Gavaldón (Mexico), Kim Ki-young (South Korea), Helmut Käutner (West Germany), Toshio Masuda (Japan), Jean-Pierre Melville (France), Masahiro Shinoda (Japan), Andrzej Wajda (Poland) and Jirí Weiss (Czechoslovakia).
The official Noir City press release elaborates:
"The 10-day excursion travels through hot-blooded nightclubs of the Mexican cabareteras, neon-streaked alleys of Japanese yakuza thrillers, the stylish Parisian underworld, Italian palazzos hiding crimes of every social strata, a Kafkaesque Prague as envisioned by the Czech New Wave — even a rare serial killer film set in Nazi Germany made by Hollywood's finest director of film noir, Robert Siodmak.
The Film Noir Foundation will premiere two new restorations at NOIR CITY 18, both little-known 1950s noir gems from Argentine director Román Viñoly Barreto: La bestia debe morir (1952) and El vampiro negro (1953).
Both restorations were completed in 2019 by the FNF's preservation partner, UCLA Film & Television Archive, with support provided from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association's Charitable Trust (The HFPA Trust)."
The Noir City Film Festival
When: January 24 to February 2, 2020
Where: Castro Theatre, 429 Castro Street (at 17th)
Why: It's BIG SCREEN FUN!
Who Benefits: The Film Noir Foundation, the cause of film preservation and most of all. . . the moviegoing audience!
The lineup of hard-boiled thrillers from the four corners of the earth is as follows:
Friday, January 24 ARGENTINA
Two films by
7:30 p.m. La bestia debe morir (1952)
9:30 p.m. El vampiro negro (1953)
Saturday, January 25, Matinée FRANCE
1:30 p.m. Panique (1946) Directed by Julien Duvivier
3:30 p.m. Razzia sur la chnouf (1955) Directed by Henri Decoin
Saturday, January 25, Evening FRANCE
7:00 p.m. Le Doulos (1962) Directed by Jean-Pierre Melville
9:15 p.m. Any Number Can Win (1963) a.k.a. Mélodie en sous-sol (original title) Directed by Henri Verneuil
Sunday, January 26 SOUTH KOREA
The Housemaid/ Hanyo (1960) Directed by Kim Ki-young. Showing at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
Black Hair (1964) Geomeun meori (original title) Directed by Man-hui Lee 4:20, 9:00
Monday, January 27 ITALY
7:00 p.m. Story of a Love Affair (1950) Cronaca di un amore (original title) Directed and written by Michelangelo Antonioni.
9:00 p.m. The Facts of Murder (1959) Un maledetto imbroglio (original title) Directed by Pietro Germi.
Tuesday, January 28 CZECHOSLOVAKIA
7:00 p.m. . . .and the Fifth Horseman Is Fear (1965) ...a pátý jezdec je Strach (original title) Directed by Zbynek Brynych
9:00 p.m. 90 Degrees In The Shade a.k.a. Tricet jedna ve stinu Directed by Jirí Weiss.
Wednesday, January 29 ENGLAND
7:00 p.m. The Long Haul Directed and written by Ken Hughes
9:00 p.m. Never Let Go Directed by John Guillermin
Thursday, January 30 JAPAN
7:00 p.m. Pale Flower (1964) Kawaita hana (original title) Directed by Masahiro Shinoda
9:00 p.m. Rusty Knife (1958) Sabita naifu (original title) Directed by Toshio Masuda
Friday, January 31 WEST GERMANY
7:00 p.m. The Devil Strikes at Night (1957) Nachts, wenn der Teufel kam (original title) Directed by Robert Siodmak
9:00 p.m. Black Gravel (1961) Schwarzer Kies (original title) Directed by Helmut Käutner
Saturday, February 1, Matinée MEXICO
Directed and written by Julio Bracho
1:30 p.m. Another Dawn (1943) aka Distinto amanecer (original title)
3:40 p.m. Twilight (1945) Crepúsculo (original title)
Saturday, Feb 1, Evening MEXICO
7:30 p.m. Night Falls (1952) La noche avanza (original title) Directed by Roberto Gavaldón
9:15 p.m. Salón México (1949) Directed by Emilio Fernández
Sunday, February 2 SWEDEN / POLAND
2:00, 7:00 A Woman's Face (1938) En kvinnas ansikte (original title) Directed by Gustaf Molander
4:00, 9:00 Ashes and Diamonds (1958) Popiól i diament (original title) Directed by Andrzej Wajda
Advance tickets are available online through Brown Paper Tickets. For more info, see the Noir City and Castro Theatre websites. There's also a Noir City YouTube channel.