The 2020 incarnation of the world’s most popular Film Noir festival, Noir City, is returning to the legendary SIFF Cinema Egyptian February 14 through 20 for a weeklong excursion into darkness hosted by Eddie Muller, internationally renowned “Czar of Noir” and host of the popular Turner Classic Movies series “Noir Alley.”
The festival presents 20 classic films from around the globe, a wide-ranging, thematically cohesive immersion into a sordid world of sinister and sexy affairs—including 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.
Our Valentine’s Day Opening Night program starts off big with the Ben Thomas Trio performing sultry tango music setting the mood for two brand new restorations from Argentina, The Beast Must Die (1952) and The Black Vampire (1953) both by acclaimed Argentine director Román Viñoly Barreto. The restorations were completed in 2019 by the Film Noir Foundation’s (FNF) preservation partner, UCLA Film & Television Archive, with support provided from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s Charitable Trust (The HFPA Trust).
For veteran cinephiles, this year’s Noir City is a chance to again experience cherished cinematic masterpieces in a bona fide movie palace, including several films presented in glorious 35mm. For those just starting their cinematic journey, it’s the perfect introduction to a wide world of international filmmakers and stars, on the big screen, larger than life. Tour guides include some of the world’s most revered filmmakers: Julien Duvivier, Jean-Pierre Melville, Jirí Weiss, Kim Ki-young, and Masahiro Shinoda.
In addition to films, trivia, and nightly prizes, we are partnering with KNKX to present the Dmitri Matheny Group on Closing Night, playing noir jazz with an international flare.
Stan Shields, SIFF Festival Programming Manager, says, “We are excited to bring Noir City back to SIFF Cinema Egyptian again this year. Audiences will be treated to rare, hard-to-find noir gems, and there is no better venue to experience these powerful international contributions to film noir.”
SIFF Artistic Director Beth Barrett puts it all in perspective; “SIFF and the Film Noir Foundation have been partnering for years to support the restoration of noir films, and bring this artistically and culturally important genre to SIFF audiences,” adding,”What makes this partnership so special is Eddie. Eddie Muller is our fabulous guide, giving audiences a treasure map to a cache of films that might otherwise go unseen and unappreciated.”
NOIR CITY 2020 LINEUP
Friday, February 14
The Beast Must Die | La bestia debe morir (35mm) FILM NOIR FOUNDATION RESTORATION
A writer adopts a new identity to track down the hit-and-run driver who killed his son in this tense adaptation of Nicholas Blake’s landmark 1936 novel. (d. Román Viñoly Barreto c: Narcisco Ibánez Menta, Laura Hidalgo, and Guillermo Battaglia, Argentina, 1952, 104 min) Spanish with English subtitles.
The Black Vampire | El vampiro negro (Digital) FILM NOIR FOUNDATION RESTORATION
A proto-feminist reimagining of Fritz Lang’s 1931 classic M, about the hunt for a serial killer who preys on children. (d. Román Viñoly Barreto c: Olga Zubarry, Roberto Escalada, and Nathán Pinzón, Argentina, 1953, 90 min) Spanish with English subtitles.
Saturday, February 15
Panic | Panique
A social outcast is framed for the murder of a woman in a rural French village. The finest film in the storied career of director Julien Duvivier. (d.Julien Duvivier c: Michel Simon, Viviane Romance, and Max Dalban, France, 1947, 99 min) French with English subtitles.
Razzia | Razzia sur la chnouf
French legend Jean Gabin plays a gangster trying to manage the influx of drugs into the Parisian underworld. A lurid, yet oddly dignified film.(d. Henri Decoin c: Jean Gabin, Marcel Dalio, and Lino Ventura, France, 1955, 105 min) French with English subtitles.
Finger Man | Le doulos
Jean-Paul Belmondo is a shady character insinuating himself in the lives of career criminals—but is he a rat? A Melville crime masterpiece. (d: Jean-Pierre Melville c: Jean-Paul Belmondo, Serge Reggiani, and Jean Desailly, France, 1962, 108 min) French with English subtitles.
Any Number Can Win | Mélodie en sous-sol (35mm)
Aging mastermind Jean Gabin plots his greatest caper—but can he trust his super-sexy young cohort (Alain Delon)? An underrated heist classic! (d: Henri Verneuilc: Jean Gabin, Alain Delon, and Claude Cerval, France, 1963, 118 min) French with English subtitles.
Sunday, February 16
A Colt Is My Passport | Koruto wa Ore no Pasupōto
A crafty hitman and his cunning sidekick attempt a daring escape after carrying out a high-profile contract and incurring the wrath of a vicious rival gang. (d: Takashi Nomura c: Joe Shishido, Jerry Fujio, and Chitose Kobayashi, Japan, 1967, 84 min) Japanese with English subtitles.
Branded to Kill | Koroshi no rakuin
After a botched assignment, a hitman finds himself in conflict with his organization, and one mysterious and dangerous fellow-hitman. (d: Seijin Suzuki c: Joe Shishido, Koji Nanbara, and Annu Mari, Japan, 1967, 91 min). Japanese with English subtitles.
Pale Flower | Kawaita hana (35mm)
An ex-con falls under the spell of a reckless young gambler whose pursuit of danger has no limits. A superbly stylish masterpiece of existential noir. (d: Mashahiro Shinoda c: Ryô Ikebe, Mariko Kaga, and Takashi Fujiki, Japan, 1964, 96 min) Japanese with English subtitles.
Rusty Knife | Sabita naifu
A young ex-con is enlisted to help bring down a yakuza boss, but he really wants to avenge the murder of his fiancé. Vital Nikkatsu crime – JD hybrid. (d: Toshio Masuda c: Yûjirô Ishihara, Mie Kitahara, and Akira Kobayashi, Japan, 1958, 90 min) Japanese with English subtitles.
Monday, February 17
The Facts of Murder | Un Maledetto Imbroglio
A home break-in seems trivial until the victim’s neighbor turns up dead. An intricate mystery that’s equal parts thriller, policier, and black comedy. (d: Pietro Germi c: Pieto Germi, Claudia Cardinale, and Franco Fabrizi, Italy, 1959, 115 min) Italian with English subtitles.
A Woman’s Face | En kvinnas ansikte
Legendary star Ingrid Bergman, pre-Hollywood, plays a disfigured gang boss who goes against her criminal cohorts in a last chance at redemption. (d: Gustaf Molanderc: Ingrid Bergman, Tore Svennberg, and Anders Henrikson, Poland, 1938, 100 min) Swedish with English subtitles.
Never Let Go (35mm)
A salesman whose car is stolen risks his life to retrieve it in London’s underworld. The villain? Peter Sellers in an unexpected, terrifying turn.(d: John Guillermin c: Richard Todd, Peter Sellers, and Elizabeth Sellars, England, 1960, 90 min) English no subtitles.
In its time, this film about a gay lawyer who agrees to defend an ex-lover on a theft charge, was considered as daring a film as had ever been made in England. (d: Basil Dearden c: Dirk Bogarde, Sylvia Syms, and Dennis Price, England, 1961, 96 min) English no subtitles.
Tuesday, February 18
… and the Fifth Horseman is Fear | … a páty jezdec je Strach (35mm)
A former doctor defies the Nazis by trying to save a resistance fighter during one long, surreal night in Prague. A Czech New Wave masterpiece.(d: Zbynek Brynych c: Miroslav Machácek, Jiri Adamira, and Zdenka Procházková, Czechoslovakia, 1965, 100 min) Czechoslovakian with English subtitles.
90 Degrees in the Shade | Třicet jedna ve stínu
A liquor store audit results in life-altering revelations for everyone involved, both guilty and innocent. A unique Czech-British co-production. (d: Jiri Weiss c: Anne Heywood, James Booth, and Rudolf Hrusinsky, Czechoslovakia, 1965, 100 min) English no subtitles.
Wednesday, February 19
The Housemaid | Hanyo
A middle-class Korean family spirals into a delirious nightmare after hiring a young housemaid. A unique mix of soap opera, noir, and horror. (d: Kim Ki-young c: Kim Jin Kyu, Ju Jeung-nyeo, and Myung-sook, South Korea, 1960, 111 min) Korean with English subtitles.
Black Hair | Geomeun Meori
The mistress of a yakuza is scarred and tossed aside after she’s raped by one of his henchmen. Only she’s not going down without a fight. (d: Lee Man-hee c: Moon Jeong-suk, Jang Dong-he, and Chae Rang, South Korea, 1964, 105 min) Korean with English subtitles.
Thursday, February 20
The Devil Strikes at Night | Nachts, wenn der Teufel kam (35mm)
The hunt for a serial killer in Nazi Germany runs afoul of the Reich when the culprit doesn’t fit their desired profile. Late classic by a noir master! (d: Robert Siodmak, c: Claus Holm, Annemarie Düringer, and Mario Adorf, West Germany, 1957, 97 min) German with English subtitles.
Black Gravel | Schwarzer kies
A black-market trucker, whose former flame is married to a U.S. officer, tries to hide a fatal hit-and-run. Rescued Cold War cinema at its bleakest. (d:Helmut Käutner, c: Helmut Wildt, Ingmar Zeiberg, and Hans Cossy, West Germany, 1961, 113 min) German with English subtitles.