10 THRILLING DAYS OF ART, MADNESS, AND MURDER!
The most popular film noir festival in the world returned to San Francisco's majestic Castro Theatre for its 14th edition, January 22-31, 2016. Its timely theme, given the threat traditional arts face from the technology revolution and its accompanying skyrocketing living costs, was "The Art of Darkness"—a collection of 25 noir-stained films exploring the pressures, pitfalls, paranoia and pain of being an artist in an indifferent and often cruel world. This time the tortured protagonists weren't felons or fall guys, but were writers, painters, dancers, photographers, and musicians.
Art Director Bill Selby's poster for this year's festival perfectly captured this year's concept of the interplay between film noir and The Arts. Discover the story in and behind the NOIR CITY 14 posters from Selby here.
In addition to the onscreen artists, this year NOIR CITY featured a plethora of performing artists. Torch singer Laura Ellis opened NOIR CITY with two numbers prior to our screenings of Rear Window and The Public Eye. Noir chanteuse Jill Tracy performed appropriately haunting love songs prior our screening of the British reincarnation romance Corridor of Mirrors. But it wasn't just vocalists who took to our stage. Classical violinist Emanuela Nikiforova played prior to our evening screenings of Deception and Humoresque, both tragic tales set in the demanding world of professional musicians. Deception co-star Paul Henreid's daughter Monika joined host Eddie Muller on stage to chat about her dad and his off-screen friendship with Bette Davis at both the matineé and evening screenings. Grammy-nominated trumpeter Dave Len Scott performed a trumpet solo prior to our double bill of dark musicals, Love Me or Leave Me and Young Man with a Horn.
There were more than musicians at the festival. For our nightclub double feature of Screaming Mimi and Mickey One, burlesque queen and NOIR CITY favorite Evie Lovelle performed for an entranced audience. The visual arts were also represented during the festivities: The mezzanine served as a studio for artist-in-residence Randall Sexton as he painted two canvasses, one of which was raffled off during NOIR CITY 14. As usual, throughout the festival, NOIR CITY patrons were invited up on the mezzanine to imbibe refreshments provided by our generous liquor supporters, Four Roses Bourbon, Crater Lake Vodka, Distillery No. 209 Gin, and Plump Jack Wine & Spirits. Prior to our closing weekend double bill of ballet noir, the mixologist and author Duggan McDonnell served his Pisco Punch and signed copies of his book, Drinking the Devil's Acre: a Love Letter from San Francisco and Her Cocktails.
While the artists who generously performed at NOIR CITY added greatly to the fun, at the heart of the festival lies our dedication to film preservation. Proceeds from the NOIR CITY festival go towards funding the Film Noir Foundation's restoration efforts. During our opening weekend, we were proud to screen the North American premiere of our 2015 restoration project, Los tallos amargos (The Bitter Stems) (see sidebar for more on the film).
During our closing weekend, we were also delighted to announce the winner of this year's $5,000 FNF/Nancy Mysel Legacy Grant at the festival, Jana D. Gowan of UCLA, a Master of Library and Information Science/Media Archives Specialization student. Gowan attended NOIR CITY on Saturday night, January 30, for the grant announcement where she spoke on the Castro Theatre stage with FNF founder and president Eddie Muller. The Mysel family, the grant's benefactors, were in attendance as well.
Sad that you missed all the fun in San Francisco? Never fear, we may be coming to a city near you. Our CONFIRMED satellite festivals during 2016 are in Hollywood, Austin, Chicago, Detroit, and Washington D.C. There are a few more cities in the works, which we'll be announcing when finalized.
2016 NOIR CITY 14 PHOTOS
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"Czar of Noir" at SIFF 2016
The perfect warm-up for NOIR CITY's return to Seattle, July 22-28, FNF president Eddie Muller will introduce the FNF-funded restoration of Los tallos amargos (The Bitter Stems) at the Seattle International Film Festival on Saturday, June 4. Based on the novel by journalist Adolfo Jasca, Los tallos amargos tells the tale of a down-on-his-luck journalist whose creation of a lucrative, if unethical, correspondence course leads to his committing the perfect murder. Although he's never apprehended, guilt takes its ultimate toll.
The film won the Silver Condor—the Argentine Film Critics Association award to the nation's best film—in 1957, with Best Director honors going to Fernando Ayala. Forty-three years later, in 2000, American Cinematographer magazine placed the film at #49 on its list of the "Best Photographed Films of All-Time." Despite these accolades, a 35mm print has not been available for decades, and the film is virtually unknown outside Argentina – until now. With the FNF's restoration, including for the first time English subtitles, Los tallos amargos is being returned to its rightful place in cinema history. Tickets available on SIFF's official website.
FILM NOIR FOUNDATION Restores "Lost" Argentine Classic
Los tallos amargos (1956), a vitally significant "lost" film in the history of international noir cinema, was restored in 2015 by the Film Noir Foundation with the cooperation of UCLA Film & Television Archive and HFPA Trust. Based on the novel by journalist Adolfo Jasca, Los tallos amargos (The Bitter Stems) tells the tale of a down-on-his-luck journalist whose creation of a lucrative, if unethical, correspondence course leads to his committing the perfect murder. Although he's never apprehended, guilt takes its ultimate toll. The restored 35mm print had its North American premiere at NOIR CITY 14 and will play across the county at our NOIR CITY satellite festivals. Read more about the film and its restoration on our news page.
ALL FOR A GOOD CAUSE
The continued support of NOIR CITY festival attendees aids the Film Noir Foundation in their mission to preserve film noir and create a theatrical audience for films like Los tallos amargos, The Guilty, and Woman on the Run. NOIR CITY patrons and FNF donors are directly responsible for the availability of nearly lost 35mm prints for repertory theater screenings across the US. Go here for more on the FNF's mission to save noir films for future generations.
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NOIR CITY Annual #8
Here's the print version you've been waiting for—the best of the best from 2015's NOIR CITY e-magazine contributors. Add this volume to your collection—essays, interviews, profiles, tributes, and reviews of classic and modern noir films by Ray Banks, David Corbett, Christa Faust, Vince Keenan, Jake Hinkson, Terrill Lee Lankford, Kim Morgan, Imogen Sara Smith, and others, including Murder She Made/The Exceptional Career of Joan Harrison from editor-in-chief Eddie Muller. Book layout and design by Michael Kronenberg, of course. And, when you purchase the NOIR CITY Annual 8, you'll be helping fund the FNF's restoration efforts. → Now available for purchase on Amazon.com.
EXTRA! EXTRA! Get Your Noir News Here!
The world of noir goes well beyond the boundaries of NOIR CITY. The Film Noir Foundation's news page brings you the latest on film noir screenings and festivals in the U.S. and abroad. We also cover: neo-noirs currently in the theatre; DVD, Blu-ray and digital releases of classic noirs and the films influenced by them; and noir news "beyond the cinema"—current events, fine and performing art pieces, and commercial products inspired by the world of noir. We'll also let you know which dark gems are playing during the current month on Turner Classic Movies on the Film Noir Foundation's TV Listing's page.
FNF VIDEO ARCHIVES
Our Video Archives feature an expanding catalog of noir-related video, ranging from exclusive interviews, to festival guest appearances, to short films inspired by film noir.
LATEST ADDAlan K. Rode's interview with actor Norman Lloyd at the 2015 Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival. WATCH.