The French Had a Name for It ’21

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First show: November 12

The French Had a Name for It '21

Blonde in a White Car, The Lovers of Midnight, Trap for Cinderella, and Deadlier than the Male

THE FRENCH HAD A NAME FOR IT ’21

Return of the Suppressed!

After 101 rare French noirs in seven landmark festivals, Don Malcolm returns to the Roxie with a three-part series that revisits both new and old destinations on “the lost continent” of classic French film noir.

Following our October tributes to Jean-Paul Belmondo and John Gabin, the Roxie screens 11 films of classic French noir from 1931-70 over the weekend of November 12-14—programmed with the legendary imaginative verve that Don has demonstrated since the series first began its run at the Roxie.

The French Had a Name for It - Nov 12-14

Friday night kicks off with a fabulous triple bill featuring the directing talents of festival favorite Robert Hossein. Saturday afternoon features two alluring early 30s films that are wrapped around the dawn of film noir itself.

Saturday afternoon features two alluring early 30s films that are wrapped around the dawn of film noir itself. Saturday evening rockets us into 1965, where classic French noir goes out with a dizzying crescendo, with plenty of sex, mystery and action.

Sunday afternoon focuses on “vampric heroes”, with rare early Melville (from 1949) and unknown late Hossein (from 1965) colliding us face-to-face with two strangely sympathetic monsters. Sunday night reprises two past festival favorites (including DEADLIER THAN THE MALE, with Jean Gabin) that focus on threesomes trapped by love and danger—proving to us (in their very different ways) that “triangles have sharp edges.”

The French Had a Name for It '21 - Nov-12-1

“The Roxie’s annual ‘The French Had a Name for It’ festival has transformed our understanding of film noir, its origins and development in less than a decade. Rather than something invented (or at least synthesized) in Hollywood and then copied throughout the world, these annual French film festivals have revealed noir to have been the result of a give-and-take of influences, with the French having as much claim to the genre as Americans.” — Mick LaSalle, SF Chronicle

→ Find out more about current and past films we’ve screened at the MidCentury Productions site. Titles below link to the festival site.

Friday, Nov 12 – Robert Hossein Tribute

BLONDE IN A WHITE CAR / TOI LE VENIN  6:00 PM

After a bizarre encounter with a mysterious blonde in her car involving both sex and gunplay, a man decides to track her down…but neglects to be careful what he wished for! With Marina Vlady as a woman who is too sexy for her wheelchair. (1958, 92 min)

DEATH OF A KILLER / LE MORT D’UN TUEUR 7:45 PM

Released from prison, a man returns home to confront the man whose actions caused his incarceration. Complications ensue when he discovers that his sister is now living with the man: things escalate quickly. The first of three films Hossein made with his then-girlfriend Marie-France Pisier (1964, 80 min)

FALLING POINT / POINT DE CHUTE 9:20 PM

The kidnapping of a young girl (Pascale Rivault) becomes perilous when one of the criminals falls in love with her. Hossein’s first (and only) neo-noir is atmospheric and astringent. With Johnny Hallyday, aka “The Elvis Presley of France”—intense and tacitrun in his role as the smitten kidnapper. (1970, 85 min)

Saturday Matinée, Nov 13 – At the Dawn of Film Noir

THE LOVERS OF MIDNIGHT / LES AMOURS DE MINUIT 1:30 PM

A cabaret singer is caught between her on-the-run criminal boyfriend and a handsome bumbler whose wad of stolen cash is putting him danger of being “taken for a ride.” Daniele Parola is a screwball Dietrich in this darkly comic blueprint for the French film noir on the brink of being born. (1931, 109 min)

IN THE NAME OF THE LAW / AU NOM DE LA LOI 3:45 PM

The first French policier, with a dreamy, druggy femme fatale (is it the opium that makes Marcelle Chantal so elegant?) and a dogged detective (Charles Vanel) looking to prevent a young cop from becoming her next victim. (1932, 83 min)

Saturday Evening, Nov 13 – The Best of ’65

THE SLEEPING CAR MURDERS / COMPARTIMENT TUEURS 6:30 PM

The discovery of a dead woman in a sleeping compartment triggers a chain reaction of death around Paris; a harried detective (Yves Montand) tries furiously to stop the mounting body count and must guess that the young man he sends as bait (Jacques Perrin) is not the killer himself. (1965, 95 min)

TRAP FOR CINDERELLA / PIÈGE POUR CENDRILLON  8:30 PM

A triple role allows the true acting chops of “sex kitten” Dany Carrel to fully emerge as she plays a woman recovering from serious injuries who is unsure which of two women she is, both of whom were involved in a complex swindle that went horribly awry. Sex, greed, cruelty, and suffering saturate the screen in this long-lost mid-60s mindbender! (1965, 115 min)

Sunday Matinée, Nov 14 – Vampiric “Heroes”

THE SILENCE OF THE SEA / LE SILENCE DE LA MER 1:30 PM

Jean-Pierre Melville’s first, based on Vercors’ surreal account of a “strange Occupation” by a Nazi officer, augmented by Howard Vernon’s vampire-like presence. A noir love story like no other. (1949, 86 min)

THE SECRET KILLER / LE VAMPIRE DE DÜSSELDORF  3:15 PM

Robert Hossein transforms himself into gnomic serial killer Peter Kurten in his spectral, spooky reimagining of Fritz Lang’s M, and bringing the impetus for the “noir impulse” full circle in the process. The last of his three collaborations with “sixties wild child” Marie‑ Pisier. (1965, 89 min)

Sunday Evening, Nov 14 – Triangles Have Sharp Edges

DEADLIER THAN THE MALE / VOICI LE TEMPS DES ASSASSINS 6:30 PM

A devious, desperate jeune fille (Danièle Delorme) seeks revenge on a prominent Parisian chef (Jean Gabin) via a duplicitous love affair. “Much darker and more perverse than Panique: Duvivier has fashioned a femme fatale for the ages.” —James Travers (1956, 107 min)

JOURNEY WITHOUT HOPE / VOYAGE SANS ESPOIR  8:45 PM

The full-on film noir version of LES AMOURS DE MINUIT, with shattering emphasis on danger created by the cunning, desperate criminal (Paul Bernard) and the bravura lighting from photographer Robert Lefebvre. Simone Renant lives up to her character’s name, Marie-Ange, in a heartfelt performance that captures all the emotional torment in play as she fights to save the man she loves from the man who refuses to give her up. (1943, 85 min)

COMING DEC 12: NOIR NOEL

The French Had a Name for It '21 - Noir Noel

Part 3 of THE FRENCH HAD A NAME FOR IT ’21: THE WICKED GO TO HELL and PARIS PICK-UP

BUY A FESTIVAL PASS   ($60 for all 11 films from November 12-14 ― save 20%!)

 

The French Had a Name for It '21: Upcoming Showtimes