The French Had a Name for It ’22
November 06 only
THE FRENCH HAD A NAME FOR IT ’22
It all began in 2014 when Midcentury Productions screened twelve films that exposed a hidden underworld of film noir in France that had been swept under the rug for more than 50 years. Some thought it was a flash in the pan… Eight years later, in its ninth incarnation, THE FRENCH HAD A NAME FOR IT — the film noir festival like no other on earth (even in France!) — is well into its second hundred films as it continues to explore what defiant revisionist Don Malcolm calls “the lost continent of French noir” that flourished from 1932-1966.
“Brilliantly curated… Malcolm’s festivals have become an annual education for everybody, including film critics.” • Mick La Salle. SF Chronicle Datebook Pick
This year: 15 films over four days split across two weekends including four “festival favorites” to acquaint newcomers and please long-time attendees: Sunday, Nov 6, Monday, Nov 7, Saturday, Nov 12, and Sunday, Nov 13.
SUN, NOV 6 • MATINÉE
Madness Runs in the Family
IT HAPPENED AT THE INN / GOUPI MAINS ROUGES
The first indelible film by a director spared the wrath of the New Wave, it’s a quirky-but-dark look at a provincial family with violent tendencies. Becker joins Clouzot, and other soon-to-be-rehabilitated directors in fashioning a new form of film noir, the “provincial gothic,” that will continue to have an impact on French filmmaking into the 1960s.
(1943, Jacques Becker)
HEAD AGAINST THE WALL / LA TÊTE CONTRE LES MURS
Franju, known for his horror tale EYES WITHOUT A FACE, is in psychological noir territory here as he tells the tale of a young misfit shipped off to a mental institution by his father, and his struggle to escape with his sanity intact. (1959, Georges Franju)
SUN, NOV 6 • EVENING
Transitions in the 60s/70s—Pierre Granier-Deferre
THE METAMORPHOSIS OF WOODLICE / CLOPORTES
As with other directors who arrived in the late 50s/early 60s (Edouard Molinaro, Jacques Deray) Granier-Deferre straddles the changes that envelop French cinema during the New Wave to create his own unique take on film noir. In CLOPORTES, Lino Ventura is the unlucky man who bankrolls a robbery and winds up in jail while his witless cohorts manage to go free. It’s what he does after he gets out of jail that drives the action, and makes this film alternately amusing—and menacing. No one slow-burns like Lino! (1965, Pierre Granier-Deferre)
THE WIDOW COUDERC / LE VEUVE COUDERC
After 1966, French film is 99.9% shot in color, changing the game for “film noir” forever. Granier‑Deferre gathers earlier French noir icons Simone Signoret and Alain Delon to reshape the idea of a “nest of vipers” at work in the provinces—the classic formula for the “provincial gothic.” Of course, there’s a twist—another woman. (1971, Pierre Granier-Deferre)
THE LAST TRAIN / LE TRAIN
Taking a Georges Simenon tale based during the French Occupation in WWII, Granier-Deferre fashions an utterly compelling film about a daring scheme to save a Jewish woman from certain death at the hands of the Nazis. Jean-Louis Trintignant and Romy Schneider pull out all the stops in this twist-laden tale of impossible daring and improbable, unexpected romance. (1973, Pierre Granier‑Deferre)
MATINÉE 12:30/2:30 DOUBLE FEATURE PRICE: $16
EVENING 5:00/6:45/8:30 TRIPLE FEATURE PRICE: $18
☇ Join the MidCentury Productions mailing list for more info & our upcoming schedule.
The French Had a Name for It '22: Upcoming Showtimes