French Noir 5

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First show: November 15

FRENCH FILM NOIR • THE FRENETIC FIFTIES

THE FRENCH HAD A NAME FOR IT 5

“The festival kicks off Thursday, Nov. 15, and my first recommendation is total immersion: make this all you do for six whole days.”  Mick LaSalle, SF Chronicle

The French Had a Name for It #5

Year 5 of Don Malcolm’s ongoing crusade to rewrite film noir history brings twenty more titles to the list of films screened at the Roxie since 2014—a total of 75 noirs in all…about two dozen more than what the “experts” claim is the extent of the canon!

French Had a Name for It

Join Don as he takes us through the most dynamic decade of French noir—the 1950s. The depth and range of the filmmaking is mind-blowing—and there’s not a single film in this series directed by the so-called “Big Three” of French noir (Clouzot, Melville, Becker). Meet 17 directors who provide the troubled heart & soul of a dynamic, shifting noir landscape. Familiar on-screen faces are still here—Gabin, Moreau, Signoret, Arletty, Vlady & Hossein—and you’ll be fascinated by the tragic career arc of Henri Vidal, a matinée idol who wanted to be so much more…Don has sprinkled six of his films throughout the festival that chronicle his personal and professional “noir reckoning.”

It’s Don’s biggest and best yet—with special screenings in the Little Roxie prior to and in between the shows in the main theatre. You’ll need to act fast to get festival passes that get you in to all 20 films—see below for the details!

The French Had a Name for It

→ Find out more about the films at the MidCentury Productions site. Titles below link to the festival site. *Screenings below are in the Big Roxie except where noted.

Thursday, Nov 15 – Husbands beware!

THE ADULTRESS / THÉRÈSE RAQUIN 7:00 PM

(Marcel Carné, 1953) 96 min

A MAN WALKS IN THE CITY / UN HOMME MARCHE DANS LA VILLE 9:15 PM

(Marcel Pagliero, 1950) 84 min

Two immortal French actresses, Simone Signoret and Ginette Leclerc, who gained fame by playing prostitutes here portray troubled wives in increasingly desperate situations. FRENCH 5 kicks off with two powerful films that aren’t afraid to get their fingernails dirty in the hardscrabble squalor of everyday life.

Friday, Nov 16 – More Moreau

UNTIL THE LAST ONE / JUSQU’AU DERNIER 7:15 PM

(Pierre Billon, 1957) 90 min

THE SHE-WOLVES / LES LOUVES 9:15 PM

(Luis Saslavsky, 1957) 98 min

As she says in The She-Wolves: “I’ve never been mistaken for anyone else.” Jeanne Moreau was a big star in France before the New Wave, but the evidence of that has been long suppressed. Here are two more revealing examples: in Until the Last One she’s the sassy girlfriend of a grifter on the run who joins her in a traveling carnival to escape his pursuers; in The She-Wolves she’s the sexy sister who ups the ante on the sinister plans of those who are vying for a sizable inheritance. Two sensational rediscoveries!

→ EARLY SHOW IN THE LITTLE ROXIE

THANATOS PALACE HOTEL / SURSIS POUR UN VIVANT 5:00 PM

(Victor Merenda, 1958) 88 mins

FRENCH 5’s tribute to Henri Vidal begins with the macabreThanatos Palace. Our hero goes to a remote “suicide hotel” in the mountains, where he’s menaced by none other than Lino Ventura! A creepy version of “ten little Indians” as only the French can do it!

Saturday Matinée, Nov 17 – Marina Vlady, Trés Jolie

THE SHOW-OFF / LE CRÂNEUR 1:00 PM

(Dimitri Kirsanoff, 1955) 90 min

DOUBLE AGENTS / LA NUIT DES ESPIONS 2:45 PM

(Robert Hossein, 1959) 80 min

She was much more than a beautiful face: Marina Vlady shows her acting range in these two early noirs, the first made when she was just 17. She’s an unusual good girl who tries to rescue bad boy Raymond Pellegrin from his escalating predicaments in The Show-Off, and she’s a mysterious but vulnerable spy on a murky, treacherous WWII mission opposite then-husband Robert Hossein in Double Agents.

→ IN-BETWEEN MOVIE IN THE LITTLE ROXIE

THE BEAST AT BAY / LA BÊTE À L’AFFÛT 4:15 PM

(Victor Merenda, 1958) 88 min

Our Henri Vidal tribute revs up with the last noir he made before his untimely death in 1959,The Beast at Bay/La bête à l’affût. He’s a prisoner held on suspicion of murder who seduces a wealthy young widow (Françoise Arnoul) as he waits for a chance to escape. And when he does, things get really crazy!

Saturday Evening, Nov 17 – Henri Vidal, mon ami!

THE STROLLERS / QUAI DE GRENELLE 5:45 PM

(Emil E. Reinert, 1950) 90 min

THE PASSERBY / LA PASSANTE 7:30 PM

(Henri Calef, 1959) 99 min

GATES OF PARIS / PORTE DES LILAS 9:30 PM

(René Clair, 1957) 100 min

Trapped by his beefcake image, Henri Vidal (1919-1959) had a frenzied life and career that was cut short by drug addiction. Our six-film tribute (of which this is the centerpiece) celebrates his acting range, but also provides on-screen glimpses of his escalating frustration with a career he could never push in the direction he wanted. He’s a bewildered innocent trapped by Parisian decadence in The Strollers; a world-weary bargeman who falls for a woman on the run in The Passerby; and a charismatic criminal who plans to betray his benefactors in René Clair’s only noir, Gates of Paris.

Sunday Matinée, Nov 18The perils of coupling!

THE LOVERS OF VERONA / LES AMANTS DE VÉRONE 1:00 PM

(Andre Cayatte, 1949) 90 mins

MAYA, ETERNAL ILLUSION / MAYA 2:45 PM

(Raymond Bernard, 1949) 79 mins

These two films from 1949 show us the dividing line between the two decades, as two filmmakers—André Cayatte and Raymond Bernard—uncharacteristically evoke the past glories of French cinema’s romantic pessimism. A double bill filled with tragic love that is guaranteed to sweep you up and sweep you away…with each film featuring the great character actor Marcel Dalio at his most unhinged!

→ IN THE LITTLE ROXIE

SINNERS OF PARIS / RAFLES SUR LA VILLE 4:15 PM

(Pierre Chenal, 1958) 82 mins

Pierre Chenal was a giant of French noir in the 30s, but was exiled during WWII and again in the 50s. His “second return” in the late 50s produced several taut thrillers that are his take on “B-noir,” and Sinners of Paris is arguably the best. A gangster with only a short time to live (Charles Vanel) escapes from jail and goes on a violent, cathartic spree.

Sunday Evening, Nov 18 – Dizzying, dynamic Duvivier!

UNDER THE PARIS SKY / SOUS LE CIEL DE PARIS 6:00 PM

(Julien Duvivier, 1951) 110 mins

HENRIETTA’S HOLIDAY / LA FÊTE À HENRIETTE 8:15

(Julien Duvivier, 1954) 94 mins

The great Julien Duvivier pushes his “sketch” narrative structure to its limits in these two unique early-50s creations. The first is a dark paean to Paris, showing ordinary lives as they intersect around the tale of a serial killer on the loose; the second is a genre-smashing hybrid where two battling screenwriters make up a movie before our eyes, each one determined to push the action toward the incompatible extremes of film noir and comedy. The result is a cinematic tug-of-war the likes of which you’ve never seen!

Monday, Nov 19Noir reckonings!

MARIE X / MARIE OCTOBRE 7:15 PM

(Julien Duvivier, 1959) 97 mins

NO EXIT / HUIS-CLOS 9:00 PM

(Jacqueline Audry, 1954) 94 mins

Here are two “locked room” films that probe and expose the nature of betrayal and damnation. In the first, a group of ex-Resistance fighters discover that their reunion (engineered by Danielle Darrieux) is much more than a get-together; in the second, three damned souls (including the great Arletty) discover the true meaning of Hell when a mysterious elevator ride locks them in a tiny room…

→ IN THE LITTLE ROXIE

THANATOS PALACE HOTEL/SURSIS POUR UN VIVANT 5:00 PM

(Victor Merenda, 1958) 88 mins

Henri Vidal stars in the macabre Thanatos Palace Hotel. Our hero goes to a remote “suicide hotel” in the mountains, where he’s menaced by none other than Lino Ventura! A creepy version of “ten little Indians” as only the French can do it!

Tuesday, Nov 20Gabin in the 50s!

HOUSE ON THE WATERFRONT / PORT DU DESIR 7:00 PM

(Edmond T. Gréville, 1955) 94 mins

THE POSSESSORS / LES GRANDS FAMILLES 9:00 PM

(Denys de la Patellière, 1958) 92 mins

No French noir fest is complete sans Jean Gabin; he’s more than ready for his close-up on closing night! He lets Henri Vidal do the wooing in House on the Waterfront as they look for Andrée Debar’s missing sister on the docks of Marseilles. He’s the embattled patriarch of a crumbling dynastic family in The Possessors—a cautionary tale as relevant in 2018 as it was in 1958!

→ IN THE LITTLE ROXIE

THE BEAST AT BAY/LA BÊTE À L’AFFÛT 5:00 PM

(Pierre Chenal, 1959) 83 mins

Our Henri Vidal tribute revs up with the last noir he made before his untimely death in 1959 The Beast at Bay. He’s a prisoner held on suspicion of murder who seduces a wealthy young widow (Françoise Arnoul) as he waits for a chance to escape. And when he does, things get really crazy!

Wednesday, Nov 21Special encore screening!

→ IN THE LITTLE ROXIE

SINNERS OF PARIS/RAFLES SUR LA VILLE 5:00 PM

(Pierre Chenal, 1958) 82 mins

Pierre Chenal was a giant of French noir in the 30s, but was exiled during WWII and again in the 50s. His “second return” in the late 50s produced several taut thrillers that are his take on “B-noir,” and Sinners of Paris is arguably the best. A gangster with only a short time to live (Charles Vanel) escapes from jail and goes on a violent, cathartic spree.

French Had a Name for It festival pass

Secure your spot and save with a festival pass for THE FRENCH HAD A NAME FOR IT 5. This year there are multiple pass options. FIND OUT MORE →

PASSES ARE NO LONGER AVAILABLE ONLINE. PASSES WILL BE AVAILABLE AT THE BOX OFFICE STARTING THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 15.

 

French Noir 5: Upcoming Showtimes
November 165:00 PMLittle Roxie
November 167:15 PMBig Roxie
November 171:00 PMBig Roxie
November 174:15 PMLittle Roxie
November 175:45 PMBig Roxie
November 181:00 PMBig Roxie
November 184:15 PMLittle Roxie
November 186:00 PMBig Roxie
November 195:00 PMLittle Roxie
November 197:15 PMBig Roxie
November 205:00 PMLittle Roxie
November 207:00 PMBig Roxie
November 215:00 PMLittle Roxie