Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Noir City Festival 14 - Belated


I wrote a post the week after the Noir City Festival 14, which ran from Jan 22-31, 2016, but got sidetracked, so posting now...better late than never!!

The week following Noir City always feels a little empty. It was a wonderful 10 days (I attended 7 out of 10): catching up with friends, buying a few books and the latest issue of the Noir City Annual (#7), and best of all, having an excuse to sit in the dark, hour after hour, gorging on film.

Out of the total of 25 films, I saw 11. A few of the films I'd seen previously, but there are a bunch that I missed and need to watch on my own. I always struggle to remember the films I saw and films I want to see, so it seemed high time to write a recap for future reference.

Here's the line-up...

Films I Saw at Noir City 14:

Crack-Up (1946)
Los tallos amargos (The Bitter Stems, 1956)
Flicka och hyacinter (Girl with Hyacinths, 1950)
Deception (1946)
Humoresque (1946)
In a Lonely Place (1950)
The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945)
The Bad and the Beautiful (1953)
Specter of the Rose (1946)
Peeping Tom (1960)
Blow-Up (1966)

Films I'd Already Seen:

Rear Window (1954)
The Two Mrs. Carrolls (1947)
The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945)
Screaming Mimi (1958)
Scarlet Street (1945)

Films I Missed:

The Public Eye (1992)
The Dark Corner (1946)
Corridor of Mirrors (1948)
Love Me or Leave Me (1955)
Young Man with a Horn (1950)
Mickey One (1965)
The Big Knife (1955)
The Lodger (1944)
Bluebeard (1944)
The Red Shoes (1948)

I have some movie-watching to do!

The highlight for me this year was Flicka och hyacinter (Girl with Hyacinths, 1950). It such a simple story, so engaging. I can imagine myself launching into an amateur investigation, searching for the reasons behind the tragic actions of my neighbor.

The main character Dagmar Brink, played by Eva Henning, was quietly luminous. And I am pleasantly surprised to discover that she is still with us, at the  age of 95.

Following just behind are two films tied for second place: The Bad and the Beautiful and Specter of the Rose. The Bad and the Beautiful is a fun and drama-filled (and fueled) look at Hollywood. I adore Dick Powell as the professor-turned screenwriter, Gloria Graham is extremely convincing in her role as a sweet and earnest southern bell (not many actresses could pull off that accent), it is interesting to see Lana Turner as a messy drunk, and who doesn't enjoy watching Kirk Douglas lose his cool in a big way, few do hysteria like Douglas!

Then there is Specter of the Rose. What a crazy film with its best/worst dialog--"hold me with your eyes!" And the modern dance sequence--perfection! The dancers earnestly present their depiction of a city scape in dance accompanied by avant guard music by George Antheil (of Ballet Mecanique and Heddy-Lamarr-frequency-hopping fame). Despite their passion, they are casually ignored during their audition with one character going as far as crossing right through their performance, gingerly stepping over them on his way across the room.

The main character, dancer Andre Sanine, was a modern "bro" dropped in the middle of a 1940s film in which everyone spoke with the expected Hollywood accent, except for actor Ivan Kirov's flat Midwestern accent that stood out as so strangely...casual. He was not a seasoned actor, or a dancer at all for that matter--self-taught it turns out, but boy he can portray an unbalanced mind with the best of them!

I've seen The Picture of Dorian Gray before, but I find Oscar Wilde's story so fascinating, I had to see it again. I can't get the Little Yellow Bird song out of my head. A young Angela Lansbury is absolutely adorable.

I'm not sure which of the missed films I'll see first. My plan is to schedule a Post-Noir City program calendar for me and my significant other over the next few months. If that's successful, we'll go through last year's list and repeat the process--a great film plan for 2016! I've been watching too much TV anyway.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for reminding me about these movies, Aimee. I probably would have ignored one like "Girl with Hyacinths," but your description has me so intrigued.