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. Tributes to Jean-Paul Belmondo (1933-2021) and Jean Gabin (1904-1976) are the focus in this “prelude” to the festival.
Belmondo’s work before his international breakout in Jean-Luc Godard’s BREATHLESS is showcased Sunday afternoon with Chabrol’s WEB OF PASSION / À DOUBLE TOUR (1959) and Marcel Carne’s THE CHEATERS / LES TRICHEURS (1958).
On Sunday evening, Gabin’s iconic comeback in TOUCHEZ PAS AU GRISBI / HANDS OFF THE LOOT! is a rare instance of Don Malcolm breaking his rule of “no well-known films!” But GRISBI has been off screens too long, and it’s all part of the setup for a remarkable second feature. LES GENS SANS IMPORTANCE / PEOPLE OF NO IMPORTANCE shows Gabin’s range while reminding us that not all noir revolves around heists and murders—sometimes even true love can lead one astray.
“For the better part of the past decade, Don Malcolm has been presenting programs of French noir at the Roxie Theater. These are revivals of national significance, because they’ve changed the way people think about the genre’s creation and development.” — Mick LaSalle, SF Chronicle
→ More about current and past films we’ve screened at MidCentury Productions.Titles below link to the festival site.
Sunday Matinée, Oct 24 – Jean-Paul Belmondo Tribute
Decadence and deadly doings in the south of France: a mistress, a matron, a sexy maid are all on display as Chabrol plays the black keys—figuratively and literally! Belmondo’s braggadocio as the boisterous fiancé presages his star-making turn in Breathless. (1959, 93 min)
An often-scathing portrait of disaffected late-50s Parisian youth: the focus is on damaged pretty people (Laurent Terzieff, Pascal Petit), but Belmondo makes an outsized impression during his time on-screen. Carné’s predictions about French youth largely came true—but he and his cinéma de papa colleagues were kicked aside anyway. (1958, 118 min)
Jean Gabin as a slick gangster hoping to retire on his last job, but complications in the underworld get in the way. With Lino Ventura & a young Jeanne Moreau. The film that started the “heist film mystique” & still holds sway over how French noir is perceived. (1954, 94 min)
Poignant, downbeat story of a trucker (Gabin) and a young waitress (Françoise Arnoul) who find love until darker realities set in. Masterfully intimate filmmaking from a director known more for his rowdy action films. “Criminally unknown film with Gabin at his best”—Jeff Stafford, Cinema Sojourns (1956, 101 min)
COMING NOV 12-14 WEEKEND!
Part 2 of THE FRENCH HAD A NAME FOR IT ’21 continues with 11 films of classic French noir from 1931-1970. READ MORE